Editor's note: This article was last updated Aug. 31, 2019, at 4:27 p.m.

MILL CREEK — N.C. Forest Service rangers continue to monitor a woods fire behind Brown’s Mobile Home Park near 584 Mill Creek Road.

So far the fire, which was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday, has destroyed 48.5 acres, according to Carteret County Ranger Brent Toler.

There were no injuries reported and no damaged homes or structures, according to Mr. Toler. Sixteen homes and eight structures were originally threatened as the fire spread.

Firefighters with the N.C. Forest Service and multiple fire departments reported to the scene about 4:08 p.m. Thursday and had the fire contained by about 10 p.m., according to Mr. Toler.

“We’ve plowed real wide containment lines around it so I’m not worried about it getting out of the lines. We’re letting it slowly burn itself out. I’m more concerned about the smoke right now,” Mr. Toler said Saturday as he checked on the fire. “We’re looking at the forecast of rain over the next few days and possibly a hurricane later in the week. We’ll continue to monitor the situation. If we don’t get the rain and we start getting tropical storm force winds ahead of a storm, we may need to change our plan.”

The cause of the fire was determined Friday to be a debris burn that got out of control. The person responsible has been ticketed, according to Mr. Toler.

Because of the dense smoke in the area, Mr. Toler said he is continuing to monitor the wind conditions and, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Transportation, will post “dense smoke ahead” signs throughout Labor Day weekend in affected areas.

“I expect the heavy smoke areas will continue to be in the Newport and Mill Creek areas,” Mr. Toler said. “It will be worse in the early morning and at night. I recommend that anyone with respiratory conditions in affected areas to limit their outdoor activities in the morning and in late evenings. Some people also opt to wear a mask.”

Because of the dense smoke, the Carteret County school system canceled bus routes Friday morning between Highway 101 and the Newport prison. Because the smoke had lifted in that area late morning, buses ran their normal routes to take students home, according to Tabbie Nance, communications director with Carteret County Schools.

Students who live in the areas and could not get to school were not counted absent. Students who live in the area and got to school late were not counted tardy.

Mr. Toler said he learned about the fire when a passerby reported seeing a pillar of smoke in the area Thursday afternoon. He went to investigate the scene and confirmed it was a wildfire. Mr. Toler then contacted the Newport Fire Department.

Newport Assistant Fire Chief James Ainsworth, who served as the incident commander for the fire, said he called in fire departments from Mill Creek, Broad Creek, Morehead City and Harlowe to assist. Firefighters from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point also helped. The N.C. Forest Service used its plane to monitor the fire.

Mr. Toler added that the fire was fueled by the dry conditions combined with a lot of dead trees that fell during Hurricane Florence.

The problem of trees dying because of hurricane damage has become so prevalent that Mr. Toler said the N.C. Forest Service is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City to discuss the matter.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(Previous report)

CORRECTION: This article was updated at 1:22 p.m. Aug. 30 to correct the a reference to the N.C. Forest Service, which will hold a public meeting Wednesday to discuss trees dying due to damage from Hurricane Florence. 

MILL CREEK — N.C. Forest Service rangers and firefighters remain on the scene Friday morning of a woods fire behind Brown’s Mobile Home Park near 584 Mill Creek Road.

So far the fire, which was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday, has destroyed 48.5 acres, according to Carteret County Ranger Brent Toler.

Firefighters with the N.C. Forest Service and multiple fire departments reported to the scene about 4:08 p.m. Thursday and had the fire contained by about 10 p.m., according to Mr. Toler.

“We’ve plowed lines to stop it from spreading and we’re back today to work on hot spots and make sure the fire doesn’t cross our fire lines,” Mr. Toler said.

Mr. Toler added that the cause of the fire was determined Friday to be a debris burn that got out of control. The person responsible has been ticketed, according to Mr. Toler.

Because of the dense smoke in the area, the Carteret County school system canceled bus routes Friday morning between Highway 101 and the Newport prison. Because the smoke has lifted in that area, buses will run their normal routes to take students home, according to Tabbie Nance, communications director with Carteret County Schools.

Students who live in the areas and who could not get to school will not be counted absent. Students who live in the area and got to school late were not counted tardy.

Mr. Toler said he is continuing to monitor the wind conditions and, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Transportation, will post dense smoke ahead signs throughout the weekend in affected areas.

“We’re essentially going to let the fire burn itself out in the contained areas,” Mr. Toler said. “I suspect because the wind is shifting that the high smoke areas this weekend will be along Hibbs Road and Highway 70 (in the Newport area).”

He explained that the smoke will lift during the heat of the day, but resettle at night and during the early morning hours.

Mr. Toler said he learned about the fire when a passerby reported seeing a pillar of smoke in the area Thursday afternoon. He went to investigate the scene and confirmed it was a wildfire. He then contacted the Newport Fire Department.

Newport Assistant Fire Chief James Ainsworth, who served as the incident commander for the fire, said he called in fire departments from Mill Creek, Broad Creek, Morehead City and Harlowe to assist. Firefighters from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point also helped. The N.C. Forest Service used its plane to monitor the fire.

Mr. Toler added that the fire is being fueled by the dry conditions combined with a lot of dead trees that fell during Hurricane Florence.

The problem of trees dying because of hurricane damage has become so prevalent that Mr. Toler said the N.C. Forest Service is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City to discuss the matter.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

 

Previous report:

MILL CREEK — N.C. Forest Service rangers and firefighters remain on the scene Friday morning of a woods fire behind Brown’s Mobile Home Park near 584 Mill Creek Road.

So far the fire, which was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday, has destroyed 48.5 acres, according to Carteret County Ranger Brent Toler.

Firefighters with the N.C. Forest Service and multiple fire departments reported to the scene about 4:08 p.m. Thursday and had the fire contained by about 10 p.m., according to Mr. Toler.

“We’ve plowed lines to stop it from spreading and we’re back today to work on hot spots and make sure the fire doesn’t cross our fire lines,” Mr. Toler said.

Mr. Toler added that the cause of the fire was determined Friday to be a debris burn that got out of control. At this time, no charges have been filed.

Because of the dense smoke in the area, the Carteret County school system canceled bus routes Friday morning between Highway 101 and the Newport prison. Because the smoke has lifted in that area, buses will run their normal routes to take students home, according to Tabbie Nance, communications director with Carteret County Schools.

Students who live in the areas and who could not get to school will not be counted absent. Students who live in the area and got to school late were not counted tardy.

Mr. Toler said he is continuing to monitor the wind conditions and, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Transportation, will post dense smoke ahead signs throughout the weekend in affected areas.

“We’re essentially going to let the fire burn itself out in the contained areas,” Mr. Toler said. “I suspect because the wind is shifting that the high smoke areas this weekend will be along Hibbs Road and Highway 70 (in the Newport area).”

He explained that the smoke will lift during the heat of the day, but resettle at night and during the early morning hours.

Mr. Toler said he learned about the fire when a passerby reported seeing a pillar of smoke in the area Thursday afternoon. He went to investigate the scene and confirmed it was a wildfire. He then contacted the Newport Fire Department.

Newport Assistant Fire Chief James Ainsworth, who served as the incident commander for the fire, said he called in fire departments from Mill Creek, Broad Creek, Morehead City and Harlowe to assist. Firefighters from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point also helped. The N.C. Forest Service used its plane to monitor the fire.

Mr. Toler added that the fire is being fueled by the dry conditions combined with a lot of dead trees that fell during Hurricane Florence.

The problem of trees dying because of hurricane damage has become so prevalent that Mr. Toler said the U.S. Forest Service is holding a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City to meet with the public to discuss the matter.

 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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