Brush fires on the rise as eastern North Carolina remains in moderate drought

Brush fires on the rise as eastern North Carolina remains in moderate drought
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -A grass fire burned in Pitt County Monday morning, one of several reported in eastern North Carolina in the past few days.

“Most of the fires this weekend were grass fires that had gotten out of control from the wind conditions and from the dry conditions,” said Onslow County Fire Rescue division head, Adam Ketchum.

A simple spark to dry land can get away from you quickly, especially if windy conditions are carrying the flames.

“It can start off with burning leaves, burning any type of debris of course it could come from burning trash which is something they’re not supposed to be doing anyway,” Onslow County Director of Emergency Services, Norman Bryson explained.

Regardless of how it starts, state climatologist, Corey Davis said compared to the rest of the state eastern North Carolina is especially vulnerable.

“So far in March Greenville has only had about an inch of rain, New Bern has only had about an inch and a half. So, they’re a little bit behind so far and because of that we’re starting to see some drought impacts.”

While officials encourage people to think twice before starting the fire pit, Bryson said if you must light a match, “make sure, number one, that you are out there with it, that you have a hose readily available and you’re watching the fire.”

As many here in the east hope the saying proves true and April does bring showers.

“The forecast does show at least one good chance of rain this week and we’ll hope for some more of those in the next few weeks as well,” said Davis.

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