The call came in just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath said when crews first arrived they found "a couple of houses, one almost fully involved in a fire."
But McGrath said crews quickly realized the wind and the proximity of the homes in the subdivision were going to be a problem.
Witnesses say the flames were being whipped around by the wind.
"We looked over to the side and saw this huge cloud of black smoke," witness Geoffrey Williams said.
Williams said the fire was so intense that he could see it for miles.
"While we were driving, we actually saw these flames, just shooting up in the sky," Williams said.
Officials say three houses were destroyed and three others sustained damage. They say a total of 15 people have been displaced. No one was injured.
"Three houses, we did see a jump to a fourth house on the left," Williams said.
Images from Chopper 11 HD above the scene showed about 60 firefighters that responded to the three alarm blaze.
More than a dozen pieces of equipment helped in the fight. Within the hour crews had it under control.
The Red Cross is helping displaced residents. At this time it is unclear what started the blaze.