Environment
3:10 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Dare County to Update Public on Wildfire

Dare County Commissioners are holding a series of public meetings next week to address long-term implications of the wildfire there. The blaze started more than six weeks ago when lightning struck in an area of peat soil near Stumpy Point. Firefighters say it could smolder for months and light new fires. Some commissioners worry that could keep visitors from coming to the Outer Banks this summer. Warren Judge is the chair of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. He says smoke conditions vary day by day based on wind direction.

Warren Judge: I"t ranges from bad to very bad. For instance, because there's a direct south wind, the northern beaches - northern Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck - there's lots of smoke. In fact, I came out of my house at 6:30 to go one of the high school graduations and I could not see the house across the street."
Judge says the county has a shelter site ready for residents of Stumpy Point if the fire advances toward that community. Forestry officials say the fire has burned more than 45,000 acres and is about 80 percent contained.