North Carolina

Smoke still blowing over Outer Banks as 160-acre wildfire contained in NC, feds say

Firefighters contained a 160-acre fire at a wildlife refuge in Dare County, but smoke will continue to blow out to the Outer Banks during the busy Independence Day week, officials said.

The fire started Wednesday at the Alligator River National Wildlife Reserve, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lightning storms slowed down firefighters Wednesday, but state and federal officials and firefighters were able to start containing the wildfire after severe weather blew through, the FWS said.

The “Roanoke Marshes Fire is producing lots of smoke. The wind is pushing smoke over Nags Head, (Kill Devil Hills), Colington, Kitty Hawk, and more recently Roanoke Island. Refuge and NC Forest Service firefighters are providing initial attack, as weather allows us to work safely. The NC Forest Service helicopter is providing aerial support,” FWS said on Facebook, sharing video of the work to knock the wildfire down.

As of about noon Thursday, the FWS said on Facebook, “Final update on Roanoke Marshes Fire: Unless there is a major change in conditions or fire behavior, this will be the last update. The fire is 100% contained. The final size was documented at 160 acres.”

The fire lines continue to smolder and will likely send more smoke to the Outer Banks. “Crews will monitor for the next few days until the smoking stops,” the FWS said.

“The point of ignition was in a very inaccessible area. There was a thunder storm. Preliminary investigation points to lightning as the cause. It was reported at 1347 (1:47pm) yesterday, the lightning map showed a strike around 1230 (12:30pm) in the area,” FWS said on Facebook Thursday.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.