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

May 24, 2011

11:00 AM - Firefighters Working Today to Contain Escaped Fire

Firefighters today have begun the process of establishing new containment lines around escaped fire on the north side of the Pains Bay Fire. The fire, which escaped Monday afternoon, burned uncontrolled into the night pushed by winds gusting to 30 mph. By daybreak, the fire had burned approximately 3 miles and crossed two roads. The fire has not crossed U.S. Hwy. 264. Current fire size is estimated at 29,000 acres.

Lack of roads, fast spreading fire, and intense burning of the fire have forced firefighters to establish new control lines far in front of the advancing fire. Helicopters will be used today to drop water in an effort to slow the spread of the fire. Firefighters positioned along new control lines will be preparing for burnouts to remove fuel in front of the advancing fire.

Fire managers, Dare County Emergency Services, and Dare County Sheriffs Department continue to monitor conditions and assess the need for evacuation of the Stumpy Point community. A community meeting is scheduled at Stumpy Point at 6:30 PM today for residents to ask questions about the fire situation and evacuation plans.

Heavy smoke was seen yesterday in Manteo and other communities to the north of the fire. Heavy smoke will continue to affect nearby communities for the foreseeable future. U.S. Hwy. 264 has been closed from U.S. 64 to Stomper Rd. near the Dare-Hyde County line. Only local Stumpy Point residents will be allowed access.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge managers are working on plans to relocate captive red wolves in the event it is needed. No known wild red wolves are threatened. Some Refuge roads are closed to public use, but the northern sections of the Wildlife Drive (Milltail, Sawyer Lake Roads, and Buffalo City), wildlife trails, and Milltail Creek paddling trails are open.

Aerial photo escaped fire at 6pm on May 23. Photo Credit: Donnie Harris, FWS.