By Rob Morris on May 9, 2011Burnouts designed to take fuel from the massive fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge should protect nearby Stumpy Point, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported Monday.
The fire, which started near Pains Bay at the border of Hyde ad Dare Counties May 5, has grown to about 21,000 acres.
Two helicopters, more than a dozen pieces of equipment and 138 people are fighting the fire.
A 10-mile stretch of U.S. 264 remained closed between Stumpy Point and Engelhard.
Crews conducted a burn-out in the northeast corner of the fire along U.S. 264 near Lakeworth Road on Monday. Firefighters will continue burn-out operations, which burn fuel in the fire’s path to keep it from spreading.
Burn-out operations were suspended shortly after noon when winds became erratic, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported. Better condition are expected Tuesday morning.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Sunday’s rain, higher humidity and light winds helped crews working to contain the fire. The perimeter was cooling, but the core of the fire was still burning hot, the refuge reported.
Of particular concern is that areas of peat on the ground have caught fire.
“In the past, some fires in eastern North Carolina have burned underground for months and traveled miles before resurfacing,” the refuge said in the statement.