Little remains of wildfire after weekend dousing

By on July 12, 2011

Crews had pumped millions of gallons of water onto the fire to contain it. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

More than 5 inches of weekend rain doused northern sections of the Pains Bay fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, leaving only four detectable hot spots.

The fire, started by lighting May 4, consumed more than 45,000 acres or 70 square miles before crews fully contained it late last month.

Aerial infrared surveys found only four hots spots remaining, the North Carolina Incident Management Team reported, and crews have been cut to a small local contingent to keep an eye on the site.

The hot spots are all south of Stumpy Point on refuge land. The wildfire also burned parts of the Dare County Range, a practice bombing facility used by the Navy and Air Force.

At one time, the fire had threatened Stumpy Point and residents were prepared to evacuate.

Weekend rain brought more than 5 inches to northern sections of the fire, with 3.8 inches measured at Stumpy Point. But a rain gauge recorded only .15 of an inch on the southern edge.

Only significant rain could douse most of the ground fires fed by flammable peat.

Meanwhile, the Juniper Road fire in Pender County continues to burn 31,310 acres. It is 78 percent contained.

The Simmons Road fire in Bladen County covers 5,632 acres and is 70 percent contained.

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