State News

Smoke from coastal wildfire drifts west

Posted June 3, 2011

— A nearly 30,000-acre wildfire burning in a coastal wildlife refuge was sending smoke far to its west Friday, sparking alerts about air pollution for much of eastern North Carolina.

The advisory extends as far west as Johnston, Harnett, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Nash, Robeson and Wayne counties. The alert from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality means that people sensitive to air pollution, such as children and the elederly, should take precautions and limit outdoor activities in the afternoon.

A more severe Code Red air quality alert covers coastal counties closer to the fire, including Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell counties.

Smoke from the fire blew across the Triangle earlier in May, creating a distinct odor and haze.

The fire began burning May 5 in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties and in the Dare County Range, owned by the U.S. Department of Defense. It's burning nine miles south of Manns Harbor and has been 80 percent contained.


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  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 6, 2011

    and how do they know without a doubt lightening started this or any fire? I just don't buy that they can figure that out when 1000's of acres have burned.

    so glad I didn't listen to wral's incorrect forecast for rain yesterday. It hasn't rained in weeks on my property. the drought is back baby and soon we'll all be toast.

  • dalexander49 Jun 3, 2011

    Plus..the EPA can't fine NC for was caused by a lightening know that village cast out wants to fine the state for an act of God

  • akatonitots Jun 3, 2011

    whatelseisnew: Did you think before you typed that? If they got fined for that they would have to be fined for every house fire that was started. The state would be in worse shape than it already is, and its not like they set the fire on purpose it was started by lightening.

  • akatonitots Jun 3, 2011

    "I certainly hope the EPA hits North Carolina with a massive fine for dumping all that carbon into the atmosphere."

    Yea cause we planned for lightening to strike a tree and start such a massive wildfire...its all our faults we planned it to inconvenience all the tree huggers.

  • bigal02282 Jun 3, 2011

    Smelled it and saw it in our town yesterday. Wondered where it was coming from. Stunk bad too. And Give Us da heat, I don't think Bev has time to do much of anything other than fight off attempts by the Republicans to sell our state to big business. I'm sure that they wouldn't mind spending money on putting out fires. Wait, we're talkin big biz.....

  • mpheels Jun 3, 2011

    The only way to fight a fire like this is to dig fire breaks, flood the ditches in the refuge, and let it burn itself out. The fire is literally burning underground. It would take an unbelievable amount of water to douse the fire, and the state has never had the man power or equipment to do that, nor should they. Typically, we have a fire like this every 15-20 years. It happens, and the people in the counties most affected know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, we've had two in the past few years (in different stretches of swampland). Now that the Pocosin and Alligator refuges have both had their peat burned, it will likely be another ~20 years before we have another fire like this.

  • mrsgaskill Jun 3, 2011

    Was in Nags Head last weekend and there was no haze or smell - just alot of sun. On the way home, outside of Manteo on 64, there was a small amount of haze and a slight smokey smell - but nothing that would keep people from planning a trip to the Outer Banks.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 3, 2011

    I certainly hope the EPA hits North Carolina with a massive fine for dumping all that carbon into the atmosphere.