HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – More than 200 firefighters continued their fight against the Poplar Drive Fire for a seventh day Thursday.
The battle against the 434-acre blaze included a special burnout operation: a targeted, controlled burn of a specified area. The goal of the operation – a success, according to the North Carolina Forest Service – was to clear fuel the fire had not yet burned, which, if ignited, could have threatened containment efforts.
The burnout operation targeted a 2.5 acre patch of vegetation surrounding Kyles Creek Road.
The fire – now slightly larger from Thursday estimates of a 431-acre footprint – is 30 percent contained, according to the North Carolina Forest Service.
Part of progress is because of efforts to contain the wildfire on its eastern side.
“We’re literally having to cut our way into it – the rhododendron, the laurel – and go in with hand tools and water in each individual heat source, work that for several minutes to get the heat out of there,” said Kevin Harvell, incident commander for the N.C. Forest Service.
Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday declared a state of emergency, which impacts 33 of the state’s 100 counties, in response to ongoing wildfire threats.