Environment

wildfire photo
Stuart Palley for Reveal

Wildfires continue to sweep through the Southeastern United States. More than 28,000 fires have burned approximately 1.5 million acres of land in the region so far this year, according to The National Interagency Fire Center.

Kayla Cantrell / North Carolina Forest Service

Forecasters say another round of rain will help to subdue the wildfires in western North Carolina, but they are also keeping an eye on possible mudslide conditions.

a sustainable carry-out box
Courtesy of Damian House

Sustainability advocates are raising money to create a reusable restaurant carry-out container system in Durham.

Oil drilliing
Wikipedia

The Obama administration has released a five-year energy plan that blocks oil drilling off the North Carolina coast and the rest of eastern seaboard, as well as new drilling in parts of the Arctic.

Near the Tennessee border, firefighters monitor a burnout operation along the Cheoah River
North Carolina Forest Service

North Carolina's wildfires have now burned 50,000 acres of forest land. More than 2,000 firefighters have been battling 15 fires for three weeks in the western part of the state. 

a map of a proposed natural gas pipeline
Courtesy of Dominion Power

Opponents of a proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are planning protests in eastern North Carolina throughout the weekend.

Near the Tennessee border, firefighters monitor a burnout operation along the Cheoah River
North Carolina Forest Service

Authorities have ordered more evacuations near Lake Lure as a nearby wildfire continues to spread. 

The state Forest Service says more than 1,000 people have now been asked to leave their homes.  The fire is one of more than a dozen that have burned 47,000 acres in western North Carolina. 

A heavy air tanker drops fire retardant over the Boteler Fire in western North Carolina
Courtesy of North Carolina Forest Service

The state Department of Environmental Quality has again issued warnings of dangerous air quality in western North Carolina as a result of more than a dozen wildfires in the region. Four counties in the west were under a "code purple" air quality alert on Tuesday, the highest warning the state can give.

Dream Jobs: Becoming A World-Renowned Worm Expert

Nov 15, 2016
a handful of worms in a person's hand
Courtesy of Rhonda Sherman

This story is part of an occasional series called Dream Jobs profiling North Carolinians with jobs that may be unique, distinctive or even a little unusual.

Rhonda Sherman likes to say she became an internationally-renowned worm expert largely by accident.

Gov. Pat McCrory first visited the fire near Lake Lure on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
North Carolina Forest Service

Firefighters are entering a third week of battling more than a dozen wildfires in western North Carolina. 

The fires have been fueled by weeks of mostly sunny and dry conditions. 

Ryan Lubbers / North Carolina Forest Service

More than 5,000 firefighters have been dispatched to battle wildfires in the Southeast, including more than a dozen blazes burning in western North Carolina.  

Image of Flags Outside Climate Conference
AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

World leaders and climate change negotiators gathered in Marrakech, Morocco yesterday for the first day of a United Nations climate talks conference. Leaders are following up on last year’s historic meeting in Paris where they developed a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions and voluntarily pledged to do their part to limit the rise in global temperatures.

A study shows potentially dangerous levels of Chromium-6 in wells across the state.
Kelly Stemcosky / Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers at Duke University have found widespread contamination of North Carolina well-water with hexavalent chromium. Researchers initially believed the cancer-causing toxin was coming from coal ash ponds. But Duke professor Avner Vengosh said his new study shows the dangerous compound is naturally occurring across the state.

flooding in the Fayetteville area after Hurricane Matthew
Photo courtesy of Kareen White

As floodwaters finally recede away from eastern North Carolina, families have returned to their homes to survey the damage and pick up the pieces.

What they are finding is that this could end up as one of the costliest storms in U.S. history.

view of flooded I-95 after Hurricane Matthew
Jay Price / WUNC

Although there hasn’t been a drop of rain to fall from the sky since the weekend, the worst flooding could still be ahead for areas in southeastern North Carolina.

That's because rain from Hurricane Matthew that fell on areas inland – like the Triangle – will continue to flow toward the coast, collecting in ever-growing rivers that will surge through areas like Goldsboro, Kinston and Lumberton along the way.

view of flooded I-95 after Hurricane Matthew
Jay Price / WUNC

Update: As of Tuesday afternoon, portions of Interstate 95 have been reopened. I-95 South is now closed betwwen Exit 56 (US-301) and Exit 13 (I-74), in Robeson and Cumberland County. I-95 North is closed between Exit 13 (I-74) and Exit 22 (US-301), in Robeson County.

North Carolina transportation officials closed 60 miles of Interstate 95 on Monday as flood waters from Hurricane Matthew continued to wreak havoc on motorists.

Flooding along NC 211 near Lumberton make roads impassable on Monday, October 10, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

Record amounts of rainfall from Hurricane Matthew inundated roads and homes across the state over the weekend. It brought down trees, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers and killed eight people, as of Sunday night.

But the worst, may still be yet to come, at least for some.

Pat McCrory
UNC-TV

 Updated 5:06 p.m. Sunday, October 9, 2016

Many sections of U.S. 158 have deep standing water, and U.S. 64 in Manns Harbor is inaccessible due to downed trees - both main routes to the Outer Banks.

Richard Neal

Hurricane Matthew continues to roar up the eastern seaboard. It will come closest to North Carolina sometime overnight Saturday and into Sunday.

ADCIRC
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences / UNC IMS

The latest update from the National Hurricane Center forecasts that Hurricane Matthew will track more eastwardly than initially thought. If that holds, the storm will still bring wind and rain to the coast, but it would dramatically reduce the storm surge in the sounds that frequently causes the most damage.

Several different people from inside and outside N.C. State campus came to see the corpse flower blossom over the weekend of September 24, 2016.
Brian Batista / WUNC

The rare titan arum, also known as the corpse flower, began to bloom on Thursday, December 22 at a greenhouse at NC State University in Raleigh.

The tropical plant produces a big flower – one of the largest in the plant kingdom – and also a big stink often described as the smell of rotting flesh.

A map from NC State show “hot spots” denoting high concentrations of manganese in North Carolina well water.
NC State University

North Carolina State University researchers estimate that thousands of North Carolina residents and more than 1 million residents in the southeast have high levels of manganese  in their well water. Manganese is found naturally in soil, but studies have linked long-term exposure to health problems, including cancer and heart defects.

An image of the book cover for 'Walking Histories, 1800-1914'
Palgrave Macmillan

Walking may seem like a simple everyday act. But the act of walking has evolved over time, and a new book, "Walking Histories, 1800-1914" (Palgrave Macmillan/2016) examines how walking became a recreational activity and how it influenced both protesters and philosophers in the 19th century.

 

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Federal wildlife regulators want to scale back the red wolf recovery program in northeastern North Carolina. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a decision Monday on its two-year review of the 30-year-old program. The red wolf was the first endangered species reintroduced to the wild in 1987.

John Rintoul, Beehives, Bees, Honey Bee
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The BeeCheck mapping system is getting a lot of attention in North Carolina since an aerial pesticide spraying in South Carolina killed millions of honey bees.

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