Refuge Fires 100 Percent Contained
The Evans Road Fire on the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and the South One Fire on the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, both ignited in early June, have each been declared 100 percent contained. Although the likelihood of the fires growing is very remote, firefighters remain on the fires as interior smoldering continues.
The Evans Road Fire grew quickly after it started by lightning on June 1. The fire reached 40,704 acres and cost more than 18 million dollars to suppress. Portions of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge remain closed due to the number of standing trees that had their root system weakened as the fire burned through the area. This creates a hazard to refuge visitors because a tree could fall over without any warning and has the potential to hit somebody.
The South One Fire ignited on June 9 when logging equipment caused a fire that grew to 4,884 acres, costing more than 10 million dollars to contain. Smoldering organic soils continue to produce smoke over the fire. Tropical systems Fay and Hanna did not dump enough moisture over the area to eliminate all of the hotspots. Smoke will likely be present until the area receives more rain. Refuge firefighters continue to monitor the fire perimeter and operate water pumping operations to flood areas which are holding heat. Portions of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge also remained closed due to public safety concerns in the fire area.
Both refuges provide unique wetland vegetation for migratory waterfowl including ducks, geese, and tundra swans.
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