continue to battle wildfire; U.S. 264 is now open
Firefighters continue to battle the Pains Bay
Fire on the
Dare County mainland. It is burning mostly on the Alligator
National Wildlife Refuge, but has threatened the village of Stumpy
The fire started on May 5 with a lightning strike and spread quickly in
the first few days of gusty wind and low humidity.
By the end of last week, firefighters had the blaze mostly under
control and 80 percent contained.
The fire continued to burn, however, in underground peat deposits on
the swampy refuge, and flared up again on Monday.
Dare County considered evacuating Stumpy Point on Monday.
However, some progress has been made, and it’s a “wait-and-see”
situation for the fishing community.
Firefighters have continued to make progress this week, and today were
battling the fire on the northern perimeter, according to public
information officer Diane Steltz.
Steltz said the firefighters were dousing the fire with water from the
ground and with four helicopters in the air.
Today, the fire is 65 percent contained and burning about
This morning, U.S. 264 between Stumpy Point and Engelhard was re-opened
to traffic. It has been closed for most of the time since the fire
started, was briefly re-opened earlier in the week and then closed
Today, Steltz said there is little or no smoke on the highway.
Heavy smoke has continued to be a problem in nearby communities this
week, especially in the northern Outer Banks. Hatteras and Ocracoke had
smoky conditions early Saturday, but the air has remained clear since
About 200 personnel are involved in fighting the fire.
This week, Chicamacomico Banks, Salvo, and Avon fire departments joined
Also involved in the fighting the fire and support services are the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; North Carolina Division of Forest
Resources; Department of Defense - Air Force; Stumpy Point, Manns
Harbor, and Roanoke Island fire departments, and Dare County Emergency
Management Services. Firefighters from 25 states are assigned to the
Smoke advisories for the area can be found at: www.weather.gov/mhx and
more information on air quality is available at www.ncair.org/airaware/forecast/
Additional information on the fire, including announcements, photos,
and maps can be found by visiting Inciweb http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2218/
or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/NC-Division-of-Forest-Resources/117366861613343
Live satellite imagery of the smoke plumes be found at http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/wfo/mhx/flash-vis.html
Island Free Press
articles on the wildfire: