Croatan National Forest Fire Now 90% Contained

Fire officials said on Tuesday the fire that has been burning out of control since Father's Day weekend is now 90% contained.

The wildfire in the Croatan National Forest, which began as a controlled burn, has scorched 21,331 acres in southern Craven County.

In addition to staying on track to meet their deadline of full containment by June 30th, crews said they plan to re-open Catfish Lake Road by Wednesday. That road has been closed since the fire got out of control on June 16th.

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That huge fire burning in the Croatan National Forest is now 80% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildfire, which began more than a week ago as a controlled burn, has scorched 21,331 acres in southern Craven County.

Weekend rains and pumping operations that run 24 hours a day have helped further contain the fire. So far, approximately 22 million gallons of water have been moved into those canals.

The feds still say smoke from the ground fires will periodically occur on US 17 and 70, along with Highways 55, 58, 304 and 306, particularly at night and in the early morning.

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U.S. Forest Service officials say although recent rains helped cool the Croatan National Forest, the ground fire remains a concern. The fire is still at 70% containment and 33 square miles in size.

The fire that has been burning now for just over a week is still on track to be completely contained by June 30th, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s website.

The Forest Service says it has cost about $300,000 so far to fight the blaze. It began after foresters started a controlled burn of just 1,500 acres.

The focus now is bringing in water to extinguish the hot spots still burning the peat soil. The amount of land still involved in active ground fire is much smaller than the overall size of the fire itself, which is listed at 21,331 acres, which is about 33 square miles.

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