The wildfire that burned 15 to 20 acres north of Avon over the weekend was “most likely human caused,” according to David Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Hallac said this evening that he had just received the results of the preliminary investigation from Bert Plante, fire management officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and incident commander for the fire.
Sometimes, Hallac said, the destruction at the site of a fire is so complete that a more exact cause cannot be determined.
Investigators have determined that the fire started in the vicinity of soundside Ramp 52, which is a short ORV access road that leads to a parking area and clearing on the Pamlico Sound. The ramp is located about two miles north of Avon.
The fire started about 11 p.m. on Friday night and was contained by Saturday evening. Four Hatteras Island volunteer fire departments — Avon, Buxton, Salvo, and Chicamacomico Banks — along with staff members from the National Park Service and USFWS battled the blaze, which threatened Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative power lines and came within a half mile of the historic Little Kinnakeet U.S. Life-Saving Service. It also closed Highway 12 for about four hours early Saturday morning.
Hallac said today that the fire was contained, though not out.
“It’s natural under these hot conditions,” he said, “that there will be ‘hotspots’ and occasional puffs of smoke.”
Staff from both the Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to monitor the fire, he said, to make sure it is not re-ignited.
The weather has been unseasonably and brutally hot and humid in the past week with little or no rainfall. Hatteras Island rainfall is more than 3 inches below normal for the year at the National Weather Service monitoring site at Billy Mitchell Airport in Frisco.
UPDATE: Cause of Avon wildfire still under investigation
Crews work to contain 20-acre wildfire north of Avon