Residents near the Onslow and Pender county line are being evacuated on a voluntary basis as a wildfire spreads.
The Sun Journal of New Bern reported Thursday that the fire has burned 20,000 acres.
Fire officials say the wildfire started last weekend in Pender County’s Holly Shelter Game Land, probably by a lightning strike.
Residents of about 40 homes are being advised to evacuate in an area north of Holly Ridge and along the west side of U.S. 17 into Pender County. Emergency shelters have opened at Southwest Middle and Topsail Elementary schools.
Some roads may be closed because of smoke and limited visibility.
Air quality has been reduced by the smoke. People with lung problems are advised to avoid outdoor exertion.
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