Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

February 2, 2009

Week-end Burning Jump-starts Prescribed Fire Season in Eastern NC

Firefighters from the US Fish and Wildlife Service conducted six controlled burns totaling 4474 acres on Refuge lands at Swanquarter and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges over the weekend, starting last Friday afternoon. Burn crews ranged from 10 to 14 firefighters each day, all based here on National Wildlife Refuges in Northeastern NC. "Burn Bosses" coordinated with the National Weather Service and the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources to select burn units where they can take advantage of key weather opportunities in order to safely meet burn objectives and keep the smoke from affecting local communities. On Saturday, burn crews were able to spread out and conduct two control burns back-to-back, one at Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge and the other for Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, totaling 2462 acres for the day. These burns will reduce potential for wildfires this spring and summer in these areas, as well as improve wildlife habitat conditions. Stay tuned! There's more to come!

In the forefront, a man with a drip torch drops fire along the road. In the background above a mass of smoke, a helicopter hovers.
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Fire Management Officer Vince Carver drops fire from a drip torch along the road, while Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge firefighters Greg Suszek and Cory Waters conduct aerial ignition from a contract helicopter (Helo-Air from Richmond, VA). Unseen are two engines, two boats and a marshmaster tractor directed by Alligator River Fire Control Officer Donnie Harris patrolling the fire perimeter to prevent escape. Photo credit: USFWS, Tom Crews.