Another day of smoke for the northern Outer Banks

By on June 7, 2011

Smoke plume from a burnout. (Cory Waters, USFWS)

Persistent south-southwest winds will continue to funnel smoke over the northern Outer Banks Friday as firefighters work to hold the line on the Pains Bay fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The state Division of Air Quality forecast levels of unhealthy air generally north of Oregon Inlet, with some of the worst particulate pollution on Roanoke Island, as smoke drifts toward the northeast.

“Residents from mainland Dare County to Manteo and the northern Outer Banks could experience unhealthy air quality, and people are advised to avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors if they can see and smell smoke,” the division said in a statement.

On Thursday afternoon, a stifling layer of smoke settled over Outer Banks towns, with visibility in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills difficult beyond a couple of blocks.

Meanwhile, fire crews continued to mow a 100-foot-wide fuels break north of Stumpy Point, which is still threatened by the fire.

A public meeting at the Stumpy Point Community Center was held Thursday to brief local residents on the fire.

Dense smoke is again possible along U.S. 264 and U.S. 64. Information on Dare County road closures is available 24 hours a day by calling Dare Central Communications at (252) 473-3444 or visiting www.co.dare.nc.us.

The fire, started by lightning May 4, covers more than 44,000 acres and is 75 percent contained. It is 9 miles south of Manns Harbor and extends south to the Pamlico Sound.

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