Due to a wind shift to the north-northeast, which
fits the requirements for a prescribed burning operation on the south
end of Pea Island, the firing operation got underway on late Wednesday
morning within the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Prescribed burns within the refuges serve
multiple purposes, depending on the time of year. Generally occurring
in the spring and the fall, the burns actually enhance safety in case
of a wildfire, controls vegetation, and creates more desirable habitats
for migratory birds.
One of the primary purposes of a springtime burn
is to create a “safe zone” so that if a wildfire occurs and moves
south, there is a break in the landscape that will give firefighters
time to stop the wildfire before it impacts residences and structures
in the tri-villages.
The spring is also an ideal time to do the
prescribed burns, as the northeastern wind direction ensures that the
fire and smoke generally stays off of the highway. With that being
said, travelers should stay vigilant when driving through Pea Island on
Wednesday, and should watch for fire trucks, and possible light smoke
on N.C. Highway 12.