Iconic Dirty Dancing Film Location, Lake Lure, Threatened by Wildfire

Wildfire Flirts with Lake Lure

While the air quality in York County gets better, for the time being, wildfires in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee still burn. The Southern wildfires are costing millions of dollars and destroying several thousands of acres of land. Lake Lure, in particular, is near the top of the list for estimated costs, surpassed by the Boteler, NC wildfire which has an estimated cost of 7.4-million dollars and has burned over 9-thousand acres and a few others like it. For those who relish the movie Dirty Dancing, the threat of the wildfire is heart-breaking. Several structures in the area of the fire are threatened and pre-evacuation notices have been issued by the NC Forest Service.

For those who love the movie Dirty Dancing, the threat of the wildfire is heart-breaking. Several structures in the area of the fire are threatened and pre-evacuation notices have been issued by the NC Forest Service. The beautiful backdrop for the famous movie will be all but destroyed by the time the fire is contained, which isn’t expected until the first of December as of now. Thankfully, no structures have been reported burned, including those around the Dirty Dancing filming locations.

Lake Lure Rebuilt

The famous filming site on Lake Lure is no stranger to such disaster or development. Many structures from the movie have burned down or disappeared, while others have been turned into a development called Firefly Cove which still houses the famous rock steps that Baby danced on.

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Lake Lure and Dirty Dancing: Cursed by Fire

The summer camp on the shore of Lake Lure served as filming locations for Dirty Dancing, but the gymnasium and dining hall featured burned down since filming and is now known as the private development Firefly Cove.

Interestingly, however, the gymnasium floor survived and was placed in the nearby Esmerelda Inn in the town of Lake Lure after it burned down a second time in 1997. Before, almost a century ago, the Esmerelda Inn was destroyed by fire. Part of the rock foundation from the gym is still in its original place, though.

Today, residents including the current owner of the Esmerelda Inn Don Cason evacuate. Flames and plumes of smoke dwarfed the inn from the mountainside behind. “I was looking at my inn, not knowing if I was telling it goodbye or we’d be back,” said Cason, who owns the inn with his wife, Kim.

“You’ve put blood, sweat and tears in for years, and to look back and go, ‘Lord, I don’t know if you’ve got me coming back or not’ – that’s not a good feeling.”

Lake Lure Wildfire Risk

As we recently saw, destruction flirting with well-known areas like Lake Lure, these fires can be massive and hard to contain, threatening our forests, ecosystems, and structures including residences.

As of right now the Party Rock Wildfire, also known as the Lake Lure Wildfire, has torched over 7-thousand acres of land. The cost so far is estimated to be the most of all area wildfires at a staggering 3.2-million dollars. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report, the containment is at 36%.


However, with continued dry, windy conditions, the weather is expected to shift and spread the Lake Lure Wildfire to the northeast, east, and southeast, mainly due to predicted high winds will feed the fire that has been burning since November 5, 2016.

The Lake Lure Wildfire is currently just one mile north of the lake and its origin is under investigation. The main cause, however, is hardwood litter. These types of fires “typically burn the surface leaves and debris, with flame lengths of 1-4 feet. Residual ground fires may smolder in the duff layer. In areas with a dense layer of shrubs, or a large accumulation of woody debris, fire intensity and rate-of-spread can increase substantially” according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The Party Rock/Lake Lure Wildfire pre-evacuation map can be seen here.