Cedar Island fire burns itself out, ravishes 57 acres

A large fire in the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge burned itself out Thursday. This photo was taken Wednesday evening. (N.C. Forest Service photo)

CEDAR ISLAND — The fire that started in the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge mid-afternoon Wednesday burned itself out Thursday morning after consuming 57 acres of woods and marsh.

Brent Toler, Carteret County ranger with the N.C. Forest Service, said the cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which owns and manages the refuge.

Wednesday night, Mr. Toler had estimated the size of the fire at 50 acres, after an initial estimate of 15 acres that afternoon. It was called the Rumley Hammock Fire, for the location it started, about 2 miles southwest of the Lola boat ramp.

“We were able to get out there today with a Marsh Master from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get an accurate acreage and check the fire perimeter,” Mr. Toler said in an email Thursday night. “Command of the fire was transferred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when they arrived this morning” with personnel and equipment.

The Cedar Island Fire Department, Harkers Island Fire Department and the National Park Service aided in various ways during the fire, Mr. Toler said.

The federal government established the wildlife refuge in 1964. It includes about 11,000 acres of marsh and 3,480 acres of pocosin and woodland. It’s home to typical marsh vegetation and trees, plus loblolly pines, longleaf pines and some live oak trees, and provides critical habitat and nesting sites for thousands of ducks and other water birds. Other wildlife includes gray squirrel, marsh rabbit, white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, gray fox, nutria, beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink and opossum.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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