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

August 8, 2011

Pains Bay Fire Update and Early Information on Great Dismal Swamp Fires

Over the week-end, the Pains Bay Fire received rain, ranging from one to two inches, depending on the location. An aerial flight on Sunday documented no visible smoke coming from the fire area. Though eastern North Carolina continues to suffer from serious drought conditions overall, the recent rain provided temporary relief for local firefighters. "It was great to have some rain, but with the drought severity in this part of the state, we will continue to have flare-ups whenever we have drier, windy days," explained District Fire Management Officer Tom Crews.

Recent reports of smoke and ash on the northern Outer Banks are more likely associated with the fire activity on Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. See initial releases about these fires below or contact Barb Stewart, Information Officer at 757- 986-3705 ext. 26 for more information.

Firefighters Working to Suppress Wildfires at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Firefighters are using bulldozers and two helicopters to suppress the two wildfires burning in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Lateral West Fire is approximately 200 acres, burning large, downed trees. The Lateral West 2 Fire is less than one acre. The two wildfires are located southwest of Lake Drummond off Interior Ditch Road. They are well within the Refuge boundary and both were started by lightning. The fires were reported to the Refuge at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2011.

Smoke will be visible for many days.

For public and firefighter safety, until further notice Lake Drummond is now closed to boating. Railroad Ditch Road is closed to all public use activities.

Additional fire professionals and equipment continue to arrive from several agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Virginia Department of Forestry and AmeriCorps NCCC. The fire is now being managed by the Type 3 Virginia Interagency Incident Management Team. The information officer can be reached at 757-986-3705 ext. 26.