Progress Made on Wildfire in Eastern NC

May 9, 2011

Firefighters continue to fight a large blaze burning in northeastern North Carolina. Officials reported progress Monday in protecting homes and business from the fire. It started last Thursday in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Spokesman Bill Sweet says favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters to burn land in the path of the fire to keep it from spreading further.

Bill Sweet: "We went ahead and put mechanical lines in and then we set a fire ourselves. We used a helicopter, aerial ignition. And we set fire and that fire then burns into the wildfire so you really fight fire with fire."

The fire has now burned at least 21-thousand acres. Its cause is still under investigation. But spokesman Bill Sweet says people in Stumpy Point are now safe from the approaching wildfire.

Sweet: "We certainly need to monitor our backfire and our burnout. We need to monitor the perimeter of the fire and make sure that it doesn't escape."

Air quality officials have issued an advisory for coastal residents as smoke from the fire drifts downwind. The blaze started last Thursday. No injuries have been reported.