Durham County

Wildfire still growing in western North Carolina

Forestry officials say a wildfire in western North Carolina is growing.

The U.S. Forest Service said Friday that the Dobson Knob fire increased to almost 1,500 acres (2.3 square miles) and is about 40 percent contained. Firefighters are extinguishing hotspots near containment lines in the Pisgah National Forest north of Marion.

Officials told a community meeting in Marion on Thursday it appeared the fire was started by people but they have not determined whether the blaze reported Sunday was the work of an arsonist.

The weekend weather forecast anticipates warm and dry conditions that could continue drying vegetation that feeds the fire. Relief may come from thunderstorms next week.

Air quality was expected to slide into the unhealthy range in McDowell, Burke, Mitchell, and Avery Counties for outdoor activities and people with asthma.