UPDATED, Sunday 5:30 p.m.: A shift in wind direction and moderate to heavy rainfall have helped cut down the amount of smoke along the Outer Banks, and fire crews have made progress in containing a wildfire burning on the mainland since Friday.
The N.C. Forest Service says the Last Resort Fire in Tyrrell County has updated its estimate of the fire zone to 5,200 acres with 34 percent containment.
Authorities caution those driving in the areas near Creswell, Roper and farther west intoWashington and Martin counties should expect low visibility through Monday, including along U.S. 64, N.C. 94, N.C. 99, N.C. 45, N.C. 32 and adjacent secondary roads.
A heads up for motorists in the inland sections of northeastern North Carolina: smoke from a wildfire burning in rural Tyrrell County may impact your visibility across the region. Please drive with extreme caution if you encounter heavy smoke or fog: https://t.co/kDv3jF39H2
— NCDOT Northern Coast (@NCDOT_Ncoast) March 27, 2023
View of the smoke in the Newland Road area in Washington County:
I took this during full daylight. Earlier I had seen the smoke from Baum and Dare Bridges. pic.twitter.com/G82jetLOLz
— Annie M. Sheffield (@DrywallAnchor) March 27, 2023
The fire started on private land on Friday, then spread into parts of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, fueled by gusty southwest winds.
From Friday evening through Sunday morning, the smell of smoke was in the air in areas east of Creswell out to the Outer Banks from Corolla to Nags Head. Hazy conditions were also reported.
@SamWalkerOBX Smoke is getting thicker here by the old bridge in Manns Harbor. It definitely has that wildfire smell. pic.twitter.com/vjyWumPooB
— Stuart P (@PackManSJP) March 26, 2023
Scattered showers are forecast to continue over the fire zone through midday Monday. Winds are expected to remain out of the east overnight, before returning to the southwest on Monday that could push smoke back towards the Outer Banks.
Then a shift to the northeast is forecast for Tuesday that would move the smoke in the direction of Little Washington.
Operational resources working the fire include 66 personnel. There are no injuries and no structures threatened at this time. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The public is reminded to keep drones away from wildfires. While drones provide unique opportunities for aerial video and imagery of wildfire activity, they are unauthorized. Flying a drone near or around a wildfire compromises the safety of pilots and interferes with firefighting efforts.