Refuge Plans Prescribed Fire on Dare County Mainland
Fire staff from Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge plan to burn the North Stumpy Point Compartment of the refuge within the next few weeks. This area is bounded by US-264, Point Peter Road, Pamlico Sound, and a 100-foot-wide firebreak just north of Stumpy Point Community. When weather and other environmental conditions fall within the required limits, the prescribed burning will take place. In most cases, there is little notice to alert the public.
The North Stumpy Point burn is planned to reduce hazardous fuels to enable wildland firefighters to better protect the Community of Stumpy Point from dangerous wildland fires. Additional benefits will be seen from the burn, such as better wildlife habitat and a healthier forest.
Refuge fire managers plan to burn under conditions where there will be minimal risk of escape, especially to the south toward nearby Stumpy Point Community, and to keep smoke off nearby highway US-264. In order to accomplish this, the area will be burned with a southwesterly wind direction, which could potentially put smoke over Roanoke Island and the south end of Nags Head Community. Good smoke dispersal conditions are prescribed in the burn plan to help alleviate the potential impacts of smoke on the down-wind communities. If smoke blows toward the Roanoke Island communities or Nags Head, it should go high overhead. However, residents in the areas could experience some smoke for a few hours on the day of the burn. There may also be some ash falling out of the smoke as it passes overhead.
If residents and businesses in the area of Roanoke Island and Nags Head are planning outdoor activities such as painting or other work that may be affected by this burn, they are encouraged to contact the dispatch office at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge at 252-473-1744 to inquire about the timing of the burn. They may leave their names on a notification list so the refuge dispatcher may notify them on the day of the burn. The burn will also be announced on local radio stations with as much notice as possible. Due to the dependency of this burn on very specific weather conditions, there is not much probability of advance notice.
Tom Crews, Fire Management Officer for the refuge reminds us, “Local residents should remember that it is better to smell a little smoke from prescribed burns from time to time, than to be forced to choke on intense smoke from wildfires all at one time. Burning across the landscape a little at a time when ground conditions are still moist will prevent deep burning peat fires, such as experienced during the 2008 fire season."