HYDE COUNTY, NC (WITN) - After 13 days of burning, a fire in Hyde and Dare counties is now 100% contained, foresters say.
This means the area surrounding the fire is cold and the fire will remain where it is until it goes out completely.
Final acreage for the fire was 15,453. Of that total, 7692 acres ( 50%) was on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, 821 acres ( 5%) was on the Dare Bombing Range (Department of Defense), and 6,940 acres (45%) was on North Carolina Forest Service jurisdiction land (state and private).
At 5 p.m. on Friday, only 29 people remained assigned to the Whipping Creek Road Fire with the expectation that demobilization would be complete some time on Saturday.
Foresters say there's been little change in that fire that's been burning for 12 days now in Hyde and Dare counties.
The Whipping Creek Fire remains at 15,453 acres and continues to be 78% contained. Foresters say they do not expect the fire to increase from its current size.
Infrared flights now show no hot spots in the 264 Low Pocosin, a 20,000 acre area north of US 264 near Stumpy Point. Some hotspots were found in the southwest corner of the fire which will be addressed, according to foresters.
The area only received a trace of rain, which has had little impact on the remaining fire.
The number of people fighting the fire also continues to decline. On Friday, 35 people are assigned to the blaze, down from 121 on Thursday.
It's day 11 of the Whipping Creek Fire, and foresters say it is 78% contained.
The fire, which began in Hyde County on April 18th, remains at 14,453 acres.
Foresters say fire activity has been dropping for the past several days, while infrared flights have shown few hotspots.
With the forecast of 50% chance of thunderstorms, low humidity and southwest winds at 10 mph, they do not expect the fire to increase in size.
The fire was accidentally started by a NCDOT contractor doing right-of-way clearing along U.S. 264.
Firefighters have now contained 70% of the Whipping Creek Fire in Hyde and Dare counties.
Foresters say the fire grew a little on Tuesday, to 15,453 acres.
The fire began 10 days ago by a NCDOT contract crew clearing highway right of way.
The Whipping Creek Fire remains the same size on the ninth day as foresters continue to build containment lines.
The fire in Hyde and Dare counties is now 62% contained.
The fire began last Monday when a NCDOT contractor was clearing highway right of way.
Foresters say a perimeter flight on Monday, using infrared camera technology, revealed minimal heat on the fire. Those areas were then hit with helicopter water drops to attack those hot spots.
There are 146 firefighters assigned to the fire.
A DOT contractor started that big fire in Hyde and Dare counties that has consumed more than 15,000 acres.
North Carolina Forest Service law enforcement say the fire was caused by the "accidental ignition resulted from a right-of-way maintenance operation." Officials say that dead grass or leaves can ignite when stones or other metal debris strike the mowing blades.
An update late Monday morning said the fire is nearly 15,500 acres and is 54% contained.
The Forest Service says on Sunday used two Super Scooper airplanes to drop more than 200,000 gallons of water to help strengthen control lines.
There are 153 firefighters assigned to the fire.
US 264 between Stumpy Point and Englehard remains open. Officials say they had to close it down while air tankers dropped water on the fire as it approached the highway.
However, Hyde County Emergency Services also note that with changing conditions, the highway may become closed again at any point.
To monitor the highway's status, click on the link on the right.
A new report says the Whipping Creek Road Fire is now 13,773 acres in size and 48% contained.
Fire officials say two CL-415 Super Scoopers, or Minnesota- based air ships, will start scooping water from the Alligator River and deliver it to the fire every six minutes starting tomorrow morning.
They say some of the 2,200 gallon water drops that the ships will be delivering will occur close to U.S. 264. Due to the presence of these aircraft and support firefighters working near the highway, the highway closure will start at 9:00 a.m. and end in the early evening.
The highway will be open at 6:00 a.m. for drivers wanting to avoid the detour.
Officials say firefighters should be able to make more progress on containing the fire with a quiet weather forecast predicted for next week.
Despite the rain from last night's storms, officials say the Whipping Creek Road Fire has grown. However, they say the fire and smoke have become less hazardous along U.S. 264, so the road has been conditionally reopened.
The Whipping Creek Road Fire has increased to 13,705 acres and is now 20% contained. Officials said yesterday it consumed 9,780 acres.
U.S. 264 has reopened in both directions south of Stumpy Point and north of Engelhard, near the Long Shoal Bridge. Spokesman Bill Swartley says the road will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, he says these hours could change if the fire and smoke return to the road. He says as of right now, they plan to have it reopen again tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Rain gauges recorded about an inch of precipitation from last night's storms, which officials say will help keep fire growth to a minimum today.
With more sunny skies and falling humidity in the forecast for next week, fire officials say they expect the fire to become active again.
Foresters say more accurate mapping has caused that big fire burning in Hyde and Dare counties to actually "shrink" in size.
A new report says the Whipping Creek Road Fire has consumed 9,780 acres, down from Thursday's estimate of 14,000.
The fire, which started Monday afternoon, remains at 15% contained.
The North Carolina Forest Service says plans continue to hold the fire south of Jackson and Maple roads, while the western flank is still south of Whipping Creek Road.
Foresters say today's expected rainfall could slow the growth of the fire, but only temporarily.
U.S. 264 remains closed between Engelhard and Stumpy Point.
April 21st Story
Foresters say gusty northeast winds helped double the size of a huge fire that continues to burn in Hyde and Dare counties.
The size of the Whipping Creek fire remains at 14,000 acres this morning, and is only 15% contained.
The fire was first spotted Monday and has closed US 264 between Engelhard and Stumpy Point.
No homes or businesses have been directly threatened by the flames, according to foresters.
Predicted rain on Friday is not expected to bring enough moisture to help stop the spread of the fire.
Smoke from the fire is drifting as far away as Greenville Thursday morning.
That large forest fire in Hyde and Dare counties has grown to 14,000 acres.
The Whipping Creek fire is east of Engelhard. It began Monday in Hyde County and has closed down a nearly 30 mile stretch of U.S. 264.
The fire is estimated to be 15 to 20% contained.
Because of smoky conditions, mainland Hyde County Schools closed at 1:30 p.m.Wednesday.
Public information officer Bonnie Strawser says the wind has shifted so they are anticipating a lot of growth in the fire today. Unfortunately, most of that growth will be to the south, she said.
The fire is now almost evenly split between Hyde and Dare counties.
Gusty northeast winds, between 15 to 20 miles per hour, will push smoke from the fire over Lake Mattamuskeet. The smoke will likely also reach into parts of Beaufort and Pamlico counties.
In addition to impacting private property, the fire is also affecting land owned by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission Gamelands, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the US Air Force, and The Nature Conservancy.
The last huge forest in that area was the Evans Road fire in the summer of 2008. That fire charred more than 41,500 acres in Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties and it lasted for three months.
A lightning strike started that fire.
A forest fire that started Monday has now grown to 4,000 acres.
The fire east of Engelhard in Hyde County has closed down U.S. 264 near the Dare County line.
The North Carolina Forest Service has named it the Whipping Creek fire. It says they have single-engine air tankers and a helicopter working on the fire.
Spokesman Brian Haines says the fire has the potential to grow to 5,000 to 6,000 acres.
There are about 50 people currently working on the fire and more are being brought in tomorrow. The fire has also jumped in multiple places to the southside of U.S. 264.
Haines said the fire began on private land, moved onto Fish & Wildlife property and is heading towards Department of Defense land.
Fire containment is less than 15% and there is still no word yet on how the fire started.
Crews from two counties are battling a forest fire Monday that has closed down a major highway.
Hyde County Sheriff Guire Cahoon says some 100 acres are burning near Engelhard in Hyde County. "Smoke is the main worry tonight, that it might settle over 264 and make roads hazardous and that's why we have the roads blocked off right now."
Hyde County EMS director Justin Gibbs says it was discovered on U.S. 264 at Long Shoal Bridge. The highway is closed because of smoke on the roadway.
Crews from Dare County are also helping, while the state has plows, an air tanker and helicopter fighting the fire. The area is described as desolate with no homes.
Cahoon says there is a potential for it to grow to 500 acres. He said late Monday evening they had 10% of the fire contained.
There is no word on what may have started the blaze.