State News

NC wildfires burn tens of thousands of acres

Posted June 24, 2011

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— Wildfires burning in several eastern and coastal North Carolina counties have consumed more than 70,000 acres.

The fire burning in the Alligator River Nature Preserve in Dare County has covered 70 square miles, or nearly 50,000 acres.

North Carolina Forest Service officials reported Friday the fire is emitting thick smoke as peat in the containment area continues to burn more than a foot into the ground.

A blaze in the Holly Shelter Game Land area of Pender County has burned more than 21,000 acres in the past week and is only 10 percent contained.

A separate fire near Atkinson in western Pender County jumped containment lines Thursday because of the high winds. It's burned 60 acres so far.

A blaze that started in the Live Oak community in Bladen County has scorched more than 1,300 acres and has destroyed three homes and 10 outbuildings. The fire, which has forced 100 people from their homes, is about 25 percent contained, and authorities said they expect efforts to surround the fire will add about 2,500 acres to its size.

The state Division of Public Health said Friday there was a spike in emergency room visits due to respiratory ailments on June 19 – the day lightning sparked the Holly Shelter Game Land fire. The increase was noticed in Beaufort, Bertie, Carteret, Dare, New Hanover and Pender counties, officials said.

The respiratory complaints in in emergency rooms have since returned to normal levels, but officials warned people to take precautions when spending time outdoors.

Forest Service spokesman Bruce MacDonald said scattered thunderstorms have helped extinguish some flames, but accompanying higher winds have pushed fires in unexpected directions.


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  • Pseudonym Jun 24, 2011


    I'm sure you've seen pictures and videos of itty-bitty helicopters and planes dropping water on a massive wildfire. Do you honestly think it works?

  • rebelde80 Jun 24, 2011

    I agree with Heat n Drought, Gov Bev should be out doing rain dances to end the fires and the drought. As a voter, I am really disappoint with her abilities to summon rain.

  • walences Jun 24, 2011

    ecu4me2 is reading the people the way she would want them to believe. In reality, there is an immense democratic backlash against the aggressive, republiCon aristocracy. We are not fooled by your attacks against the middle class. We will take back the legislature like so many other states with recall elections to purge republiCon psudo management of our lives. This country and state is not broke! The wealthy refuse to pay their taxes. They refuse to use their hoarded millions to put the people back to work.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 24, 2011

    As the state burns up, as tourism dries up, as residents flee their homes and towns because they can't breathe, our Governor Veto Bev sits on her bun doing nothing to put these fires out.


  • batricia1 Jun 24, 2011

    The CL 215 is back in the air and on the pender county fire I read on the foresty website

  • ecu4me2 Jun 24, 2011

    Two really different issues here...The plane would be like a water gun on this fire. Selling it saves jobs needed in other areas. Our legislators are truly looking at the forest unlike our Governor who is hung up at ever tree she sees. But she is soon going to be too far out on a branch to save her party.

  • carolinabluegrassfan Jun 24, 2011

    The state owned an airplane capable of containing fires of this type which are located in inacessable terrain and locations, but in their zeal to see how much the budget could be cut in their first session under Republican control, our legislature decided to sell it rather than foot the $1.5 million bill for the necessary repairs to keep it flying.

    Hmmm...I wonder what the cost to the forestry service, paid and volunteer fire departments and their members, and other personnel involved in these fires, combined with the related economic losses have amounted to. My guess is that it's well over the million-and-a-half that would have enabled the fires to be controlled in the first few days.

    Sometimes our legislators literally can't see the forest for the trees...big picture, ladies and gentlemen, you have to look at the big picture...

  • 27615 Jun 24, 2011

    WRAL - you forgot a 0 - it's 70,000 not 70,00