UPDATE: Juniper Road Wildfire Containment Increases

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

The North Carolina Forest Service says the Juniper Road fire in Pender and Onslow counties is now 30% contained.

The number of acres burned increased Monday to 22,600. Officials held a community meeting at a local school Monday night to update the residents on the fire and firefighting efforts.

Crews performed burnout operations on the southeast side of the fire Monday in hopes to burn off the fuel there.

Officials say the potential for the Juniper Road Fire to grow remains high.

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The North Carolina Forest Service continues to try and get the Juniper Road fire in Pender and Onslow counties under control. As of Saturday evening, the fire is 20% contained and approximately 21,336 acres have been consumed by the wildfire.

The State of Emergency remains in effect. According to Onslow County Emergency Services Planning Officer Stacie Miles, "Onslow County firefighters are providing structural protection assessment and monitoring. We anticipate that they will retain this status over the next few days unless there are significant weather changes."

There has been no damage to structures or injuries as a result of fires in Onslow County.

An air quality alert has been issued in the area due to the smoke from the wildfires.

Individuals with respiratory conditions are urged to avoid physical activities outdoors while everyone else should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion in outdoor activities.

Motorists are reminded to use caution when traveling through the affected areas.

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The North Carolina Forest Service is trying to get the Juniper Road fire in Pender and Onslow counties under control. Friday it was 10% percent contained. Fire officials say very dense smoke is expected from the Juniper Road fire over the weekend.

One of the difficulties crews are running into is water supply. Officials say the maps the North Carolina Forest Service uses to find water isn't accurate because of the drought conditions so a scout plane is helping. Ground crews are also helping scout for water. Trucks are loading 150 to 200 gallons of water at a time to put out the fire. As far as the 2100 homes in Holly Ridge that could be threatened by this fire, officials say they are still working with local fire departments and emergency management to spread to word to home owners on how to keep their property safe.

"It's usually not a wall of flame but a burning ember that lands on a bush or something and starts a bush fire that leads to the house. So you want to reduce those fuels around your home the best you can," said Bruce Haines with NC Forest Resources.

2 homeowners who live just a few miles from the fire says they feel helpless because fir trucks can't make it down the sandy narrow road they live off of. They say the state won't help because of legal issues. So one of the homeowners is using hi own water pump to soak his property with water from a nearby pond.

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