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 6, 2009

Alligator River Refuge Completes 5,485-acre Prescribed Burn

On Thursday, February 5, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge successfully burned the Roanoke Marshes prescribed fire unit west of US 64/264 between Manns Harbor and Point Peter Road. The primary goal was to reduce fuel levels on the 5,485-ace tract of wildlands to provide a margin of safety for Manns Harbor in the event of a wild fire. District Fire Management Officer Tom Crews said, "We consider this prescribed fire to have been very successful. We produced smoke, but the winds did just what they were supposed to do with it- sending it up and out over the water. We estimate that about 70% of the acreage burned. It's not our goal to burn everything to the ground, but to reduce the fuel levels enough to provide an increased level of safety for our neighbors in Manns Harbor." The only mistake of this burn was a telephone pole burning through near Manns Harbor, which Tideland Electric crews replaced on Friday. Prior to the fire crew leaving the scene around 6:00 pm on Thursday, all power poles had been checked, and there was no active fire observed anywhere in the vicinity. Evidently, fire was smoldering inside a crack in the pole, unseen by the crews. No homes lost power during the incident. The Roanoke Marshes Unit was last burned 3 years ago.

Fire tractor keeps watch amid smoke next to fire
Fire crews setting fire while fire tractor keeps watch along fireline.
Photo credit: Vince Carver, USFWS

Four fire crew - one usin a hose - stand watch next to fire.
Refuge Fire crews, bundled up against the cold, protect portable weather station during Roanoke Marshes prescribed fire on Thursday. Temperatures were in the 20's during the day.
Photo credit: Vince Carver, USFWS