Firefighters ordered residents to evacuate Sunday from areas near a wildfire that continues to grow in Stokes County, north of Winston-Salem.
The Sauratown Mountain Fire has grown to more than 300 acres in a wooded area between Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock state parks. The fire is expected to grow, according to the N.C. Forest Service.
"Fire activity is expected to increase throughout the day as conditions become drier and warmer," the Forest Service said.
There is a burn ban in effect for 30 counties in western North Carolina, but that does not include Stokes County.
The fire was first reported Saturday evening, and quickly grew from 5 acres that night to 60 on Sunday, according to the N.C. Forest Service. The fire is listed as 0% contained.
Local fire departments are on hand to help protect 12 structures near the blaze on Sauratown Mountain Road, the Forest Service said. There are several cell towers and broadcast antennas on the mountain.
There are no reports of injuries or damage to structures, the Forest Service said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
There's rain in the forecast for much of North Carolina Tuesday. That's bad news for Thanksgiving travel, but good news for firefighters battling forest fires.
Crews have been using fire operations to burn away debris and start building containment lines. The U.S. Forest Service said it also has two helicopters and three airplanes working to extinguish the fire.
Half a dozen big fires have kept wildfire crews busy in North Carolina. The Poplar Drive Fire, in Henderson County, is now 100% contained after burning more than 430 acres.
The Collett Ridge Fire has grown to more than 5,500 acres and is now more than 80% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. That fire has been burning since Oct. 23.
The Black Bear Fire, which started last week, also continues to grow near the North Carolina-Tennessee border. It's now at more than 1,700 acres and 42% contained.
"Yesterday was a good day on the fire," said Wes McKinney, with the U.S. Forest Service. He said the Black Bear Fire only grew by about 20 acres Sunday.
The wind is expected to pick up Monday and could spread the fire before rain moves in overnight, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Officials warned that smoke could settle along the Pigeon River and cause low visibility along Interstate 40 near the Tennessee border.
With rain in the forecast for much of the day Tuesday, McKinney said crews would come off the mountain and let nature take care of extinguishing it.