State News

Smoke from Pender County fire could drift up East Coast

Posted June 23, 2011

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— Heavy smoke from a fire in Pender County could drift as far north as Delaware Thursday night, affecting interstate travel and prompting voluntary evacuations of some homes.

As of Thursday night, the fire has burned 21,336 acres and was 10 percent contained. Fire officials say lightning probably started the fire in the Holly Shelter Game Land last weekend.

Residents of about 40 homes are being advised to evacuate in an area north of Holly Ridge and along the west side of U.S. 17 into Pender County. An emergency shelter was opened at Southwest Middle School.

People living in coastal communities, including Topsail and Hampstead, were urged to be ready for possible evacuation warnings.

Smoke from the fire has become dense and reached up to 19,000 feet in the atmosphere, Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins said.

Southwesterly winds will likely push smoke over northeastern Pender County and up the East Coast as far as Maryland and Delaware on Thursday night, he said.

The smoke could affect visibility on Interstate 40 and N.C. highways 17, 210, 24, 50 and 53, as well as secondary roads. Near the fire, visibility could drop to as low as 66 feet.

Collins said that road closures are unlikely, but motorists need to use caution.

Air quality has been reduced by the smoke along the North Carolina coast. On Thursday, warnings ranged from the medium-level Code Orange to the most severe Code Purple.

In general, adults and children, particularly those with respiratory conditions, should limit their outdoor activities.

19 Comments

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  • JER-Z-BOY Jun 23, 2011

    "As long as it does not go to Emerald Isle where I'll be in July I really don't care about the folks north of the fire. Too bad so sad.
    OGE"

    Nice...Last time I checked Emerald Isle was north and east of Pender county ...unless they moved it.

    Hmmm...prevailing SW winds = bulls eye on EI...enjoy your stay.

  • SaltlifeLady Jun 23, 2011

    OGE--its already in Emerald Isle. If its going to Delaware, its going through Emerald Isle. It was there yesterday with very low visibilty. Could not see the ocean from the condo. Sorry.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 23, 2011

    I hope the EPA gets down here quick and fines that fire. It is contributing to Global warming. It is quite alarming.

  • tobywilliamson58 Jun 23, 2011

    Spray some brime on it from a helicopter and it will disapate!

  • tobywilliamson58 Jun 23, 2011

    Who cares?

  • AWakeMom Jun 23, 2011

    Heat - they'll probably all be reimbursed and given punitive compensation knowing our "inept leader."

  • OGE Jun 23, 2011

    As long as it does not go to Emerald Isle where I'll be in July I really don't care about the folks north of the fire. Too bad so sad.

  • BeachyKeen82 Jun 23, 2011

    They have the fire zero percent contained. I live directly east of the fire, about 1 mile from the edge of it, and have been told nothing. At least reading this article gave me more information than the local news outlets, which have been terrible about giving updates. And, while I'm sure there are some people working on controlling this blaze, more of the firefighters were sent to different counties to work on smaller fires that were threatening houses. So this giant blaze is just tearing along with no end in sight.

    We've got our important things already stored away from our house so we can leave at a moments notice, just need to grab the pets and go. I've already come to grips that my home might not be there next week, and that's sad.

  • ginlee00 Jun 23, 2011

    Heat n Drought n Fire,etc.: What does Bev have to do with this? You seem to have a mighty big chip on your shoulder.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 23, 2011

    "In general, adults and children, particularly those with respiratory conditions, should limit their outdoor activities."

    Tell that to the motel owners, business owners and tourists on the coast. Then you'll have one large group of P O'd people who will demand something get done. Or demand the state and its inept leader reimburse them.

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