Camp Lejuene Begins Annual Prescribed Burns For Wildfire Prevention

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If you live in Onslow County, be prepared to see and smell smoke for the next eight months, but fire officials at Camp Lejeune say you have nothing to worry about. Every year Camp Lejeune fire crews create prescribed burns they say help prevent uncontrollable wild fires.

Back in 2011, nearly 10,000 acres were devoured by a wild fire. Officials say it began on a Camp Lejeune firing range. Several homes had to be evacuated. Two schools and even Highway 17 were closed because of the smoke.This prescribed burn over the next 8 months is meant to prevent a wildfire like that from happening again.

"Its really important to do this because if we didn't wildfires would occur more often, and they'd be bigger than they are now and that would be more smoke for folks to smell," said Fire Management Specialist Kyle Avesing.

"We take all the precautions we can. Everyone is trained, properly schooled in proper burning procedures and methods, and we have contingency plans should the fire escape containment," said Manager Of Forest Protection Dan Becker.

Fire officials aboard Camp Lejeune says folks both on and off base can expect to see and smell smoke through August.

So far they have burned 350 acres. They hope to burn 25,000 more. Fire officials say another reason for prescribed burns is to restore the habitat for endangered species that live aboard Camp Lejeune like the red cockaded woodpecker and the venus fly trap.