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North Carolina

North Carolina

Flooding of Fire Area Continues to Reduce Smoke

July 2008

Despite the hot and dry weather conditions lingering over the Evans Road Fire, firefighters have made good progress by using pumps, sprinklers, and miles of hose to flood areas which continue to smolder deep into the swampy soils of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. 

Soaking the soil with water is the only way to fully extinguish the fire burning underground. An estimated 21.6 million gallons of water were pumped into the fire area in one 24-hour period. Significant rainfall will be needed to thoroughly drench the fire area. Typical of fires in swampy areas, this incident has fire creeping deep in organic peat soils. The organic matter burns and holds intense heat.

Another concern for firefighters is standing trees that have had their root systems burned by the fire. Those trees are unstable and can fall without any warning. The falling trees could either unexpectedly fall near people or fall onto a hot area causing the fire to flare-up.

The fire was ignited by lightning on June 1 and quickly grew.  It has burned 41,543 acres and is 75 percent contained.

The refuge is managed largely to restore, enhance and protect wetland habitats for waterfowl and other animal and plant species. Additional information about the refuge and the fire can be found by visiting http://www.fws.gov/pocosinlakes/.

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