Holly Shelter forest fire grows to 2,000 acres; 25% contained

(Pender County)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 12:35 PM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A forest fire burning on state game lands has now charred 2,000 acres in Pender County.

The Juniper Road Two Fire began last Tuesday from a lightning strike and the North Carolina Forest Service had it contained until conditions on Wednesday caused it to jump containment lines and spread. So far, it remains within the Holly Shelter Game Lands.

This morning, foresters say the fire is now 25% contained. It is moving east toward Highway 50 so crews have cut additional containment lines ahead of the fire to help keep it from reaching the highway.

A dozen tractor plow units, a helicopter, two air tankers, a scout plane, along with 21 Forest Service personnel are battling the fire. Crews from area fire departments from both Pender and Onslow counties are also assisting foresters.

The Forest Service says the terrain is difficult for firefighters who also have to deal with the high heat. A spokeswoman said incoming afternoon sea breezes could cause winds to change directions. She said while the fire itself is not close to Highway 50, their biggest concern is smoke hazards for drivers on that highway.

“The terrain out here, all of this vegetation, it’s quite difficult to work with, as well as the hot conditions. It’s really hot on the people, but also the equipment. So, we have to do different tactical maneuvers to be able to mitigate the heat as well as the terrain difficulties that we face in the game lands property,” Carrie McCullen with the NC Forest Service said.

Holly Ridge told residents to expect to see smoke and ash and to use caution when driving if the smoke reduces visibility.

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