Great Lake fire grows to 35,000 acres, southern region wildfire crew bringing help to ENC
The Great Lakes Fire in the Croatan National Forest has grown to more than 35,000 acres and more ground and air crews have been brought in to help put it out.
Firefighters from the US Forest Service, North Carolina Forest Service, and Craven County fire departments are all on scene.
U.S. Forest Service officials said the Southern Red Area Team, which fights large wildfires in 13 southern states and two U.S. territories, will arrive on Sunday and on Monday they will begin work to extinguish the fire alongside those local and state agencies.
Appreciate the effort of firefighters, forestry officials and emergency responders to get the wildfire in Croatan National Forest under control. @NC_Governor's office and @NCEmergency will stay in communication as they do this critical work.https://t.co/KHLToSyGh7— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) April 22, 2023
Officials say the fire was first noticed on Wednesday evening and at that time it was estimated to be around 50 acres; it grew slowly on Thursday but because of increasingly dry conditions and winds overnight and into Friday morning it swelled to 7,000 acres, then 12,000 and at last check 35,000.
The fire is about 10 percent contained, and primary and secondary containment lines are being established, with an emphasis on protecting private land to the north of the forest.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources in Raleigh NC has issued a Code Purple Air Quality Action Day for eastern North Carolina because of the smoke and ash in the air until midnight. They say those with health conditions impacting their breathing should avoid the outdoors in the smoky areas.
Winds are expected to continue through Saturday evening and forestry officials say communities north of the Croatan National Forest can expect to continue to be impacted by smoke. There is a chance of rain on Saturday and that could tamp down the fire in some areas.
Travelers on Highways 17 and 70 and other roads impacted by the fire are asked to use caution and watch for firefighters working in the area.
#SATELLITE SPOTLIGHT: @NOAA's GOES16🛰️ is tracking the smoke from a #wildfire in Croatan National Forest in North Carolina today. Officials estimate the blaze has already burned more than 35,000 acres since Wednesday. #NCwx pic.twitter.com/JpVFkKwjJA— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) April 21, 2023
The cause of the Great Lake Fire has not yet been determined.