Pains Bay Wildfire Investigation Confirms Cause Was Lightning

The official fire origin investigation of the Pains Bay Wildfire burning now for 25 days confirms the cause was a lightning strike.
Early on, fire officials said lightning started the fire in Dare County. The Incident Commander, John Howard, says those announcements were accurate but premature.

The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources investigation shows a lightning strike about noon on May 4th north of the Pains Bay Canal was the cause. The lightning appears to have struck at least one tree and traveled into the ground to spark thick duff. Duff is the layer of pine needles and leaves found on the ground.

Howard says this type of fire takes more time to fight to make sure it is not smoldering in the duff. The origin site is estimated to be about 400-500 yards from Highway US-264, which is open now to traffic 24-hours a day, after being closed several days due to thick smoke.

Just over 27-thousand acres are still burning near the Stumpy Point community and the wildfire is 80% contained.


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  • by fartman on Jun 2, 2011 at 02:06 PM
    It wasn't lightning. It was me...I farted and sparked the fire.
  • by Lightning Bolt Location: Cloud to Ground on Jun 2, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    !
  • by It was me... on May 31, 2011 at 06:40 PM
    I did it.
  • by Fact Bringer Location: Greenville on May 31, 2011 at 03:29 PM
    I blame the rapture.
  • by jerry Location: enc on May 31, 2011 at 08:06 AM
    A little late to be bothered with what caused it....
  • by ralph Location: ahoskie on May 30, 2011 at 08:49 PM
    I love it... the tree that caused thirty thousand acres to burn to a crisp, is left after the fire? What a fire-proof tree?
    • reply
      by Are you serious? on Jun 2, 2011 at 08:14 AM in reply to ralph
      Are you joking Ralph? you can honestly think that when the fire started it was automatically huge! And if it isnt obvious by now that the fire moves on occasion then maybe you should put your helmet back on so you dont get hurt!
  • by reco on May 30, 2011 at 08:26 PM
    The fires that burn in Hyde and those area's are peat fires and they burn under ground about the only way to put them out is to flood the area or let it burn its self out, now the pains fire isn't a bad thing to happen, now it should be years before they have another fire like that again, theres no fuel left to burn.
    • reply
      by Tom on May 31, 2011 at 02:42 AM in reply to reco
      There's plenty of parched fuel left on the side where the fire started.These fires don't burn all the vegetation down as they move thru the woodlands.
  • by Stumpy Point resident Location: dare county on May 30, 2011 at 07:57 PM
    Why do people keep posting the same ignorant question "why hasn't all the rain they've had put out the fire?. IT HAS NOT RAINED MORE THAT A FEW DROPS IN SIX WEEKS! Quit making assumptions people that because it may have rained where you live that it is doing so here. WE are living with this scary, unpredictable and very inconvenient situation. By the way the article says that the road was out a few days. Try 3 weeks! Try driving all the way around through Columbia to get to work only to encounter a stuck draw bride that is operated like a rich man's toy.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 31, 2011 at 06:51 AM in reply to Stumpy Point resident
      Amen! Ive been wondering where all this rain is everyone keeps talking about. I seen rain once in the last two weeks and it only rained for about half an hour.
  • by Toni on May 30, 2011 at 07:50 PM
    What rain? I havent seen much it rained day before yesterday for like half an hour. Not enoughto drench the ground well enough. The fire is burning so hot thatmost of the water sprayed directly on the fire is evaporating.
  • by craebel on May 30, 2011 at 07:15 PM
    dont understand with all the rain that area has gotten why it is still burning????
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