2,000 Evacuated In One Fire; Another Consumes Hundreds of Acres
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ A wind-whipped fire near two schools forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 students Monday, and a nearby blaze scorched up to 1,000 acres of forest, officials said.
No injuries were reported in the fires, which were fanned by 25 mph wind gusts.
The Wilmington fire broke out Monday morning in a wooded area near Hoggard High School and Roland Grice Junior High School before being brought under control by more than 300 firefighters six hours later.
″Because the wind was gusting, it spread very rapidly,″ said Wilmington Police Sgt. Dennis Cyphers.
The fire spread to the high school’s yard and into a wooded area behind the athletic fields of the adjacent junior high school, forcing the evacuations, Cyphers said.
People had been seen in the area where the fire began, but the origin of the blaze was unknown, he said.
The other fire broke out in an uninhabited area near Shallotte, about 30 miles southwest of Wilmington, and consumed between 800 and 1,000 acres of timberland by evening, said Dane Roten, a spokesman for the state Division of Forest Resources.
It ″is still going, and the humidity is down ... so it’ll be going well into the night,″ he said.