POLK COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – The multiple brush fires that shut down Highway 74 westbound in Polk County on Friday have been contained.

Officials say there were no injuries as a result.

All westbound lanes have been reopened, and traffic patterns are back to normal.

The Town of Columbus Fire Department said crews were operating on brush fires from mile marker 163 to 161.

First responders were at the scene working to extinguish the fires.

A 7NEWS crew spotted a helicopter dropping water on the fire.

Officials say we are entering ‘fire season,’ due to the low humidity and high winds, it dries everything out. These conditions can increase the chance of brush fires.

“We believe it was started by an 18-wheeler, there was 3 different spot fires and the 18-wheeler was pulled up on the side of the road,” said Captain Dylan Priester. “It had a blown tire, so we’re thinking the sparks caused it because it’s been so dry lately.” 

Captain Dylan Priester, with the Columbus Fire Department, says three fires were ignited and the weather helped it spread.

“It makes a huge impact on fire behavior, it took us approximately 3 minutes to get here and within 3 minutes it was already running up the hill, probably 50-100 yards,” he said.

Captain Priester says the steep terrain in the area makes it hard to get firefighters in and out, but EMS were on standby waiting to assist them.

Spotter planes were used and helicopters dumped water on the flames.

The Forest Service, in North Carolina, says the woods are more prone to fires this time of year.

“Basically, due to a rainfall deficit and low humidity values, the woods are more susceptible right now,” said District Ranger, Dillon Michael.

He says people need to be careful.

“Be aware of emergency vehicles in the area, make sure you give them plenty of room,” said the District Ranger. “Slow down and move over if they’re on the road or the roadside and just be careful.”

Captain Priester says part of Highway 74 was shut down as a result, with the westbound lanes closed off Exit 163 until the fire was put out.