HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A Florida man has been cited and charged in connection with one of the wildfires still burning in western North Carolina.
According to the North Carolina Forest Service, the cause of the Poplar Drive Fire in Henderson County was determined to be a debris burn that took place on private property on Oct. 26. The wildfire, which eventually grew to 434 acres, began eight days later on Nov. 3.
The forest service says Duff Swan, 51, of Maitland, Fla., has been cited and charged with North Carolina General Statute 14-140.1.
That law states:
Any person, firm, corporation, or other legal entity who shall burn any brush, grass, or other material whereby any property may be endangered or destroyed, without keeping and maintaining a careful watchman in charge of the burning, shall be guilty of an infraction which may include a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00). Fire escaping from the brush, grass, or other material while burning shall be prima facie evidence of violation of this provision.
As of Thursday, the Poplar Drive Fire is 98 percent contained, according to the forest service.
In the nearly two weeks since the blaze began, one home, two cabins, one uninhabitable mobile home, one uninhabitable cabin, and two outbuildings were destroyed. Two firefighters also sustained minor injuries, and four minor motor vehicle accidents with no injuries have been reported.
Western North Carolina remains in a drought, and dry conditions are expected to continue over the next few days. As a result of the fire-friendly conditions, the forest service says the burn ban put in place in 30 western North Carolina counties will remain in effect until further notice.
Henderson County had been under a State of Emergency since Nov. 6, but the order ended at noon on Wednesday, according to Henderson County Emergency Management.