Firefighters ‘died of exposure to heavy smoke’ while battling blaze

Storm about to arrive, so officials could issue evacuation notices, which would be strongest yet on North Carolina’s North Carolina Forest Service

A wildfire is still burning at a North Carolina state park after the death of a firefighter due to exposure to heavy smoke.

Forecasters are warning the storm about to arrive in the region could cause more problems. Forecasters say a potentially deadly combination of wind, low humidity and dry heat could push the fire toward some towns east of the path of Hurricane Florence.

At least three firefighters and 10 other people have been injured in the fire.

North Carolina forest service officials said on Friday that rain and cooler temperatures helped but could also lead to new flare-ups. The forecast calls for an influx of smoke from the nearby mountains to push the fire toward areas where the wildfire has been contained.

A spokeswoman for Jones Gap state park said on Wednesday that all 20 trails in the preserve were closed due to the fast-moving fire burning there.

Deborah Cranford said it was one of the park’s busiest days of the year, with more than 40,000 visitors. However, employees had spent the previous few days preparing for wildfire.

On Sunday, 37-year-old Barry Moore and his dog, Ginger, died after they were rescued from the fire’s smoky aftermath.

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