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Change in weather expected to be beneficial in fighting Great Lake fire in the Croatan National Forest

Photo: Annette Weston-Riggs, Public Radio East
PRE News & Ideas
Officials are hoping that a change in the forecast in the next few days will help them put out the fire in the Croatan National Forest.

Officials are hoping that a change in the forecast in the next few days will help them put out the fire in the Croatan National Forest.

Southern Area Red Team Operations Section Chief Shawn Nagle said they could get some help from Mother Nature in extinguishing the 32,000 acre Great Lake fire.

“In the coming days, we expect the conditions, the weather conditions, to moderate the fire activity,” he said, “We have some higher humidities, which means the moisture in the atmosphere, and there is a chance of rain over the next couple of days, which is obviously going to penetrate into the soil and hopefully limit any more fire growth.”

Nagle said the chief goal is to keep the fire from spreading to private property.

“We are seeking opportunities to keep this fire on the National Forest Service lands. Our intent is to keep it on the lands and it does not go outside to private lands or Weyerhauser land,” he said.

The fire hasn’t spread outward in recent days, and he said it’s behaving a little unusually.

"Normally, wild land fires spread laterally out. Meaning they have more acres outward,” Nagle explained, “This fire, just because of the fuel type -- and when I say fuel, I mean the sticks and the needles and leaves out there -- it burns down.”

Right now, there are nearly 200 people, four helicopters, a plane and other firefighting equipment working to put the fire out.

On Thursday, the U.S., Forest Service will hold anin-person community meeting to give people information about the fire; it’s at 6:00 p.m. at Creekside Elementary School in New Bern.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to