More than 30 wildfires have burned roughly 55,300 acres in the foothills and western North Carolina mountains this month, U.S. Geological Survey data show.
Firefights have managed to contain most of them.
The blazes have rained ash on surrounding towns and sent smoke to far-way cities. One of the newest fires – the Horton Fire near Blowing Rock – has burned more than 700 acres.
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The Tellico Fire, burning in the Nantahala National Forests on the Tennessee border, is the largest, having consumed nearly 14,000 acres. It is 95 percent contained.
Gov. Pat McCrory said North Carolina could be fighting fires throughout the winter and spring. The reason: much of western North Carolina is under extreme or exceptional drought.
Observer reporters Bruce Henderson and Katie Peralta contributed.