North Carolina Firefighters Contain Destructive Brush Fire

Firefighters have contained a brush fire in Western North Carolina that destroyed nine homes and damaged others and scorched more than 300 acres.

Firefighters said late Monday that the fire was contained and that winds have calmed, making hot spots easier to extinguish.

Residents were allowed to return during the day Monday, but some had little to return to.

Officials in western North Carolina said 200 acres were burned by wildfires that were fueled by dry conditions and windy weekend weather.

Those residents of areas near Bryson City were forced to flee their homes Sunday night. Grassy Ridge, the affected subdivision, is a community of 27 homes that are about 30 years old. Many were built asvacation cottages.

WYFF News 4's Gordon Dill was in Swain County, and said that the fast-moving fire destroyed one home in less than three minutes. The fire moved up the mountainside at about 25 mph, according to firefighters.

Even though the fire was considered under control late Monday afternoon, continued to flare up.

The fire began on Sunday in Swain County and crews from the U.S. Forestry Commission and several fire departments in the area worked through the night to get it under control. More than 200 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze under control.

Emergency officials in the area said that despite the damage, no injuries were reported.

Mandatory evacuation was ordered for residents along Pelohi Cove Road and Red Hill Road.

A voluntary evacuation was issued for the surrounding areas of Grassy Branch, Laurel Branch, and Mineral Springs.

An emergency shelter was set up at a nearby church, but the pastor of Midway Baptist Church said that all the evacuees found someplace else to stay.

Emergency officials say separate brush fires were reported farther north the French Broad River, but no damage was reported.

WYFF News 4 Chief Meteorologist John Cessarich said that the fire danger should decrease later this week as rain moves into the North Carolina mountains.