FIRE WATCH: Camp Lejeune Wildfire 100% Contained

State foresters now say that massive wildfire burning in Onslow County is finally 100% contained.

The fire, which authorities believed began on a Camp Lejeune firing range last Saturday, has consumed some 9500 acres.

At one point last Thursday several neighborhoods were evacuated and two schools closed early because of the advancing fire. Several highways in the area, including U.S. 17, were also closed due to the smoke.

The state says it has spent an estimated $317,000 in fighting the fire. No civilian buildings were damaged, while Camp Lejeune says several range buildings on the base were lost due to the fire.

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State foresters say it was super fog that forced the shutdown of Highway 17 in Onslow County this morning for a couple of hours.

The four lane highway was closed from about 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. between Highway 172 and 210.

The N.C. Forest Service says super fog is formed when smoke, combined with fog, creates low to no visibility at ground level. They say the smoke came from about 50 to 60 acres that is still burning in the Greater Sandy Run area of Camp Lejeune.

The state says so far it has spent $317,000 in fighting the blaze which remains at 90% contained. Foresters say they hope to have it 100% contained later today.

The fire has been burning since last weekend and began on a firing range on the base.

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Highway 17 in Onslow County is open again near that massive wildfire at Camp Lejeune.

The four-lane highway was closed between Highway 210 and 172 early this morning as smoke reduced visibility to five feet in some sections.

The highway reopened to traffic around 8:30 a.m.

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Emergency Management officials in Onslow County say a stretch of Highway 17 is closed due to smoke from the wildfire.

Norman Bryson says Highway 17 is closed between Highways 172 and 210. The Onslow County Sheriff's Office and Highway Patrol made the decision to close the four-mile stretch of roadway around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The smoke from the wildfire is creating dangerous driving conditions because of the poor visibility, Bryson said.

Traffic is being detoured using Highways 172 and 210.

The fire is 90% contained.

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Camp Lejeune says rainy, damp weather has prevented that big wildfire from burning.

The base says so far just over 9500 acres have burned since last weekend and right now the fire is now 90% contained.

The fire began last weekend in a firing range in the Greater Sandy Run area of the base and flared up Wednesday night forcing the closing of Highway 17. The next day two nearby schools were forced to close early, highways shutdown and several neighborhoods evacuated as the wildfire grew in intensity.

Marines say on Monday ground scouts reported less fire and fewer hot spots in areas of concern. While the wet weather has help fight the fire in one respect, it has hindered efforts getting heavy equipment into the fire perimeter.

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A wildfire that started on a firing range at the Camp Lejeune appears to be losing momentum as cooler temperatures and rain move through the area.

As of Sunday evening officials say the Camp Lejeune wildfire remains at 75 Percent contained. After a flyover Sunday afternoon officials have decreased the amount of acres burned so far from 10,500 to 9,382.

Officials say the fire hasn't decreased in size, but they found unburned pockets within the containment lines.

In some areas, stumps and other materials are still smoldering. Firefighters are watching for flare-ups, especially on the fire's western edge.

The blaze started March 19 began spreading widely Thursday as higher winds combined with warm, dry weather conditions.

Camp Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy says workers are refilling trenches and flattening berms in areas where they are no longer needed for fire containment.

A few small wooden structures were damaged on the base. One person suffered a sprained ankle.

They expect it to be several more days until they have full containment of the fire.

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As of Saturday evening officials say the Camp Lejeune wildfire has burned around 10,500 acres. The fire is now 75 percent contained and officials are anticipating a full containment within the next several days.

Officials say the fire originated on Camp Lejeune’s Greater Sandy Run Area on the SR-8 range March 19th and escaped onto private lands last Thursday causing some road closures and evacuations. No structures on private lands have been damaged or destroyed so far. The ignition source is still under investigation by Camp Lejeune officials.

Officials say Saturday’s weather and fuel moisture conditions are contributing to low fire behavior. The favorable conditions should allow firefighters to build control lines directly on the fire perimeter. Control lines will be built by removing trees and understory down to mineral soil using some of the 12 forest service tractor-plow units assigned to the fire. Control line construction and some burnout operations will continue through the weekend. Wet weather conditions forecasted for this weekend will greatly aid suppression efforts.

A Unified Command consisting of a North Carolina Fire Services Type 2 Incident Management Team and Camp Lejeune Fire & Emergency Services Division personnel are managing fire suppression.

Although impacts of the fire continue to decrease, motorists are advised of the possibility to encounter scattered smoke near the intersection of NC-210 and US Hwy 17, and south to the intersection of NC-172 and US Hwy 17, with visibility similar to a light fog. Motorists are advised to use caution when traveling in this vicinity.

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Camp Lejeune's commander says they have slowed the advance of that massive wildfire which has consumed thousands of acres both on and off base.

Col. Daniel Lecce said during an afternoon briefing that they hope to have the fire out in a couple of days. He says they have stopped the fire at Jones Road.

State officials now say the fire has consumed some 9,500 acres. That's more than double the estimates from this morning.

The North Carolina Forest Service tells WITN News that right now the fire is only 35% contained.

Twenty-two fire departments from a half dozen Eastern Carolina counties are now fighting to control that fire, while another 11 are on stand-by.

In addition to nine volunteer fire departments from Onslow County, units from Craven, Duplin, Lenoir, New Hanover and Pender counties are assisting as well. That's in addition to firefighters from Camp Lejeune, the North Carolina Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

State foresters say better weather conditions today are helping firefighting efforts.

The base commander says so far no civilian buildings have been burned, while several range buildings on base have been lost.

All roads in the area remain open today, including Highway 17. That's in sharp contrast to Thursday when that highway and several other state roads were shut down and neighborhoods evacuated because of the smoke.

Local authorities still advise drivers to use caution while traveling near the wildfire due to low visibility.

A state of emergency for that part of Onslow County, enacted Thursday evening, has been lifted.

The fire forced the early closure of two nearby schools Thursday, while today all schools in the Sneads Ferry area are closed because of the fire.

A Red Cross shelter, which housed about 20 people Thursday night, closed this morning after evacuation orders were lifted.

Camp Lejeune is investigating whether the fire began as a result of training in the area. That investigation could take several months.

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Evacuation orders have ended and detours around a massive wildfire in Onslow county have now been removed and Camp Lejeune officials say the roads have reopened.

According to Nat Fahy, the spokesman for the base, as of 1:30 A.M. Friday, Highway 17 and 210 have re-opened.

Onslow county sheriff's deputies closed Highway 17 from High Hill Road to Highway 172 and Highway 210 from Four Corners to Highway 17 due to the heavy smoke blanketing the road, causing low visibility for drivers.

Fahy says they will be monitored the situation as local law enforcement patrol the areas throughout the early morning hours.

Fahy says the exact number of acres burned is between 2,000 to 4,500 acres.

There are no reports of injury or property damage, except to a bulldozer used to battle the fire.

Motorists should still exercise caution as they travel near the fire.

Updates will be provided as the situation develops.

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Onslow County authorities say a massive wildfire has now jumped to the east side of Highway 17, threatening schools and homes in the area. More evacuations have been ordered.

Volunteer fire departments from at least three other counties are being pulled in to help battle that massive wildfire burning in Onslow County.

Authorities are going door-to-door to evacuate people in the Stump Sound township southwest of Camp Lejeune. Officials do not know how many homes or people will be impacted by the evacuations.

Crews from Craven, Duplin and Pender counties are now being sent to the fire that until this afternoon was confined to training ground in the Greater Sandy Run area at Camp Lejeune.

But Onslow County officials say the fire has since jumped over to the east side of Highway 17 and has prompted even more evacuations.

State Forestry spokesman Brian Haines says 20 homes on Pilchers Branch Road were under a mandatory evacuation, while county officials say residents of Dixon Estates were also moved out of their homes.

Emergency Management Director Norm Bryson says residents can go to North Topsail Shores Baptist Church where the Red Cross has set up a shelter.

Smoke from the fire has shut down Highway 17 from High Hill Road to Highway 172. Also closed is Highway 210 from Four Corners to Highway 17. Camp Lejeune says it has opened up Highway 172 traffic on base to allow for detours.

The state estimates the fire has consumed about 2,000 acres.

Due to conditions, the Marine base says its Stone Bay complex will be closed Friday to all non-essential personnel.

Camp Lejeune is investigating whether the fire began as a result of training in the area.

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Onslow County authorities say a massive wildfire has now jumped to the east side of Highway 17, threatening two schools and homes in the area.

Dixon Middle and Dixon High Schools closed at 11:00 a.m. because of the fire danger and shortly after lunch homes at Dixon Estates were evacuated.

Sheriff Ed Brown says the fire is now headed toward Stone Bay and calls it a "major issue". He said additional evacuations are likely.

Emergency Management Director Norm Bryson says residents can go to North Topsail Freewill Baptist Church if necessary. He said the Red Cross is setting up there to help out residents.

This morning the fire shut down Highway 17 because of the smoke. The highway is closed from High Hill Road to Highway 172. Also closed is Highway 210 from Four Corners to Highway 17.

That shuts down the direct route between Jacksonville and Wilmington. The DOT says drivers going to Wilmington should detour onto Highway 53 in Jacksonville, then take Highway 50 to Holly Ridge.

Massive amounts of smoke can be seen from that intersection. WITN's Amanda Paul says smoke is increasing, making it hard to breath and see firefighters not far away.

Amanda says around 2:30 p.m. authorities told her to evacuate from a convenience store at the corner of Highways 17 and 210.

State Forestry Spokesman Brian Haines says the fire is only 30% contained. He says three state airtankers and a U.S. Forest Service helicopter are dropping water on the blaze.

While there is no firm figure yet on acreage, Haines says it's estimated between 800 and 2500 acres.

Camp Lejeune Spokesman Nat Fahy says crews initially had the blaze contained, but weather conditions caused the fire to spread.

Fahy says crews from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Forestry Service and multiple county volunteer fire departments are working on the fire. He says crews from the U.S. Forestry Service are expected this afternoon.

Fahy says the fire remains a very dynamic situation, given weather conditions.

The fire is believed to have started after training in the Greater Sandy Run area.

In 2008 a similar fire about five miles north brought about the deaths of Onslow County Deputy Steve Boehm and Verona Assistant Fire Chief Gene Thomas. The two were struck and killed by a tractor trailer after the smoke caused multiple accidents on Highway 17.

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The Onslow County Sheriff's Office says Highway 17 is open again after a fire forced traffic to be detoured Wednesday. But officials are asking drivers to be cautious due to the smoke.

Camp Lejeune Spokesman Nat Fahy says at last word the fire is contained but the smoke from the woods fire could cause low visibility.

Meteorologist Jim Howard says only five hundredths of a inch of rain fell in Onslow County early Thursday morning, which means, it would have little affect on the fire.

In 2008 a similar fire about five miles north brought about the deaths of Onslow County Deputy Steve Boehm and Verona Assistant Fire Chief Gene Thomas. The two were struck and killed by a tractor trailer after the smoke caused multiple accidents on Highway 17.

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The Onslow County Sheriff's Office says smoke from a fire at Camp Lejeune Wednesday forced Highway 17 in Sneads Ferry to be shut down for about 20 minutes.

The highway reopened as of 6:30 p.m, but the Sheriff's office said thick smoke continued to limit visibility for drivers through the night.

Camp Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy says a weekend fire flared up and caused heavy smoke to blanket the highway. The fire is believed to have started after training in the Greater Sandy Run area

The Camp Lejeune Fire Department and crews from Onslow County Forestry Service, including a helicopter, were called to the scene of the fire about 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. Before 6:00 p.m. the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office closed off U.S. 17 for less then 30 minutes.

Crews were still fighting the fire as of 9:00pm.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mama Bear Location: Hyde County on Mar 30, 2011 at 01:03 PM
    Thank You NC Forest Service employees for helping contain this fire. You should be very PROUD for saving homes and lives. Love You All!
  • by ABOUT TIME on Mar 29, 2011 at 03:07 PM
  • by wow on Mar 29, 2011 at 09:37 AM
    GET A LIFE!!..You all are more worried about yourselves then the Marines(who have part of fighting for our freedom) if it wasnt for them and the other branches of the military then we probably wouldnt even be able to have computers, internet, radio, or doing any of this!! So, instead of worring about yourselves theres other peoplein this world!
  • by SUPER FOG? on Mar 29, 2011 at 08:49 AM
  • by John Location: Simpson on Mar 27, 2011 at 09:45 AM
    I have a great pic of a trooper's car in a ditch after he parked his car to direct traffic at hwy 210 and forgot to put the car in park. Good training.
  • by Just Me on Mar 26, 2011 at 08:15 PM
    Anonymous 3-26-11 4:39PM: A hero is one who accomplishes something of great worth while simultaneously putting his own life in jeopardy. By that definition, then yes: These folks are heroes indeed. I'll bet YOU weren't out there helping them.
  • by mandy on Mar 26, 2011 at 03:09 PM
    why is every one so worried about how camp lejeune is said, we need and should be worried bout all the people in onslow county and the people tht are trying to put it out so quit trying to fix how it is spelled and start worring about peoples lives and be thanking the ones tht are trying to put the fire out and save your lives. thank you to the deputies and the law enforcement for trying your hardest and to those tht are mostly worried bout how camp lejeune is spelled yall should be sorry.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2011 at 02:20 PM
    Blame it on Global Warming...oops, I mean, Climate Change!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2011 at 01:39 PM
    Isn't the word HERO thrown around easy these days. They are just doing there jobs.
    • reply
      by Chuck WireWiggler on Mar 26, 2011 at 04:18 PM in reply to
      I feel certain that you would bestow the term HERO upon whomever saved your house or family member . . Just sayin.
  • by Gerri Bowman Location: Dixon on Mar 25, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    Great thanks to all the fire departments and firemen from several counties, and Onslow Co. deputies and law enforcement, and all envolved in containing the wild fire at Dixon. I have a home today because of their dedication. They are all HEROES!

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