Local News

Dry Conditions Could Fuel More Brush Fires

Posted April 6, 2006 7:23 a.m. EDT

— There have been several outdoor fires this week, and officials say thousands of acres have burned since the beginning of the year.

A brush fire threatening the southern Sampson County town of Garland spread to more than 250 acres Wednesday night, authorities said. Firefighters said it has been burning throughout the night, and they are working to contain it.

Although it does pose a threat to the town of Garland, there were no immediate plans for evacuating residents.

Firefighters also battled two other separate brush fires Wednesday evening -- one in northern Sampson County and the other in Fayetteville.

Sampson County authorities said dozens of acres of land have burned for days in a rural part of the county. Crews have had to fight the fire from the air, using planes and helicopters because they are unable to get to it by land. Earlier Wednesday, crews were working on a trench in hopes of containing the area of the fire.

Officials said there are a number of houses in the area, but there was no immediate danger as of Wednesday evening.

The other brush fire was near N.C. Highway 87 near the Fayetteville Airport in Cumberland County. Multiple fire units were at the scene Wednesday. The fire was called in as a 30-acre fire, but it has spread since to about 60 acres. About 60 percent of it had been contained as of 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Highway 87 was closed in both directions near the airport Wednesday. State Department of Transportation officials expected the road to be closed until about 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

In a typical year, North Carolina sees about 5,000 fires burning about 20,000 acres. As of Monday, more than 3,000 wildfires have already burned 11,000 acres statewide.

Officials said 105 brush fires had been reported statewide on Wednesday. Dry conditions similar to Wednesday's could still lead to more fires, they said.