Largest Refuge Fire of 2008 Declared Out
The Evans Road Fire, ignited by lightning on June 1 near Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, grew quickly onto the refuge eventually burning more than 41,500 acres. The fire was fully contained after several months of hard work by firefighters and finally declared out on January 5, 2009.
Despite the hot and dry weather conditions which lingered over the Evans Road Fire, firefighters made good progress controlling the incident. Pumps, sprinklers, and miles of hose were used to flood areas which continued to smolder deep into the soil throughout the incident in some areas burning several feet deep.
Typical of swampy areas, peat soils consisting of organic matter burned and held intense heat. Soaking the peat with water was the only way to fully extinguish the underground fire. About 21.6 million gallons of water were pumped into the fire area during one 24-hour period.
A major safety concern was standing hazard trees with root systems burned and weakened by the fire. Such unstable trees can fall unexpectedly near people or onto a hot area causing the fire to flare-up.
The refuge is managed largely to restore, enhance and protect wetland habitats for waterfowl and other animal and plant species.
Stilted trees resulting from fire burning deep into the peat soils of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge remain as a visible reminder of the Evans Road Fire.
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