US Highway 264 is now open to public traffic between Stumpy Point and Engelhard. However, authorities say it may be closed intermittently at any time due to smoke and/or fire suppression activity.
Shifting winds are causing problems for crews battling the Pains Bay wildfire in Dare County. Highway 264 between Stumpy Point and Engelhard is once again closed to all public traffic.
According to officials early Saturday morning the wildfire that has been burning in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge crossed the SW perimeter into unburned fuels moving towards Highway 264, making it dangerous for people to drive on the road.
There is no estimated time for when the road will be reopened, but the situation will be assessed continuously and the road will be reopened as soon as conditions are safe for public travel.
Officials say the fire is now working its way NW towards the Air Force target area within the Dare County Range.
Firefighters are working to contain the fire to the east of the target area by conducting a burnout operation to reduce unburned fuels between the fire perimeter and a containment line. This area is difficult to navigate due to impenetrable brush and very few established roads.
Manteo and the Outer Banks can expect dense smoke Saturday night through Sunday morning due to winds shifting to southwest. Both US Highways 64 and 264 will likely experience heavy smoke/fog conditions during this same time period. Visibility will be reduced.