Wednesday, April 24, 2024

More than 11K acres engulfed in flames in Brunswick County

The smoke above Green Swamp Preserve in Brunswick County, which was once a controlled burn that became a wildfire. (Courtesy N.C. Forest Service)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY —  As crews attempt to control the fire near the Green Swamp Nature Preserve, the blaze grows.

READ MORE: Green Swamp wildfire burns 3,500 acres of land

What was once 3,500 acres engulfed in flames has expanded to 11,500 acres as of 8 p.m. on Friday, June 16. Containment is at 0%.

The fire began from a controlled burn conducted Tuesday, June 13, on roughly 400 acres. The wildfire reignited and was burning 2,000 acres two days later and has expanded since.

An afternoon update from the N.C Forest Service indicated crews strategically are pushing the fire toward the road in order to better contain it. The fire is inside the Green Swamp Nature Preserve, east of N.C. Highway 211.

No structures are in peril and no injuries have been reported.

A press release states crews are utilizing “backfiring operations off the existing road system, in conjunction with aerial ignition in the fire’s interior, to reduce the amount of unburned fuels in front of the fire.”

The maneuvers have the fire’s northern edge at the Driving Creek Fire scar. On the south side, crews are attempting to bring the edge closer to Highway 211. There is a chance the fire could close the highway mid-afternoon until further notice. Residents and travelers should consider extra travel time or take alternate routes.

The areas near the Green Swamp Nature Preserve and northeast of Wilmington will be impacted with the heaviest smoke. The forest service expects Southport and Supply areas to see and feel the effects earlier in the day, with Carolina Beach and Bolivia affected later Saturday.

As of Saturday morning, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s air division has Brunswick County in the red still — meaning the air quality is unhealthy for everyone.

There are high levels of fine particle pollution, PM2.5, due to the smoke. The particulates are smaller than the width of a human hair and can bury deep into the lungs, aggravating asthma or other lung issues.

New Hanover is in the orange; the air could affect those who have sensitivities to smoke.

Pender County has been cleared of the compromised air quality.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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