Travellers who may be alarmed by smoke along N.C. Highway 12 on Wednesday don’t have to worry – A prescribed burn is currently underway within the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, per a recent update from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in North Carolina
The 45-acre prescribed burning operation is occurring on the N.C. Highway 12 side of the refuge’s South Pond, and the forecasted winds for Wednesday should push the majority of the smoke out over the Pamlico Sound.
Though the burn should not affect traffic, motorists should stay vigilant when driving through Pea Island on Wednesday, and should watch for possible limited visibility on N.C. Highway 12.
Prescribed burns within the Outer Banks’ refuges serve multiple purposes, depending on the time of year. Generally occurring in the spring and the fall, the burns create a more protective barrier in case of a wildfire, help control vegetation, and also create more desirable habitats for migratory birds.
The spring and fall months are also an ideal time to do the prescribed burns, as the typical northeastern wind direction ensures that the smoke generally stays away from the roadway. With light east-northeast winds under 10 mph forecast throughout the day, the conditions are currently optimal for the operation.