Amid wildfires, North Carolina getaway turns to ghost town
LAKE LURE, N.C. (AP) – Don Cason’s 125-year-old Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant in the western North Carolina mountains was booked solid for Veterans Day weekend.
But by that Friday, smoke and flames covered the mountains, the inn outside Lake Lure was evacuated, and Cason didn’t know if he was saying a final goodbye to the historic building.
Of the estimated 190 square miles burning in wildfires across the Southeast, Lake Lure could be taking the most concentrated economic hit. About 1,000 people are still evacuated.
Stores and restaurants are closed. Houses show no signs of life. The only visitors are firefighters from across the country.
Nothing in the Lake Lure area has been damaged or destroyed by the fire yet, but a dry, windy weekend forecast is keeping the community waiting nervously.
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