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The consequences of North Carolina's worsening drought conditions

The Chestnut Knob fire burned in South Mountain State Park, 10 miles south of Morganton, in 2016.
North Carolina Forest Service
The Chestnut Knob fire burned in South Mountain State Park, 10 miles south of Morganton, in 2016.

The fall weather may be cooling things down, but November wildfires in the western part of North Carolina raised temperatures to dangerous degrees.

Earlier this month Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to help fight wildfires. State burn bans impacted 30 western North Carolina counties and all backcountry campsites at nine state parks are closed due to increased fire risk.

Part of what’s fueling these wildfires, according to the North Carolina Forest Service, is careless debris burning. And the dryness from droughts throughout North Carolina isn’t helping.

In order to combat the negative impacts of severe drought affecting much of the state, we’re going to need to see more rain — and that includes Charlotte and the surrounding area.


David Boraks, WFAE climate reporter
Jimmy Dodson, program manager at Department of Natural Resources
Kevin Harvell, regional forester for N.C. Forest Service Region 2
Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist at WCNC

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.