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NC crews battling multiple forest fires

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- High winds and unseasonably warm weather have helped keep forest fires burning in western North Carolina despite emergency crews' efforts to contain the blazes.

A fire burning near Chimney Rock State Park now covers nearly 300 acres in Polk and Rutherford counties. Firefighters say wind gusts of up to 25 miles an hour have helped spread the blaze faster than expected. The fire started Saturday.

In Surry County, a forest fire near the Lowgap community has scorched more than 100 acres. Firefighters from three counties are working to keep the blaze from reaching homes and businesses.

Dry and windy conditions have led to brush fires in several other areas of the state.

Much of the state is under a red flag warning, which is not a ban but warns of the dangers of outdoor burning.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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