Wildfire burning west of Outer Banks for last three weeks now fully contained

Wildfire burning west of Outer Banks for last three weeks now fully contained

April 13th, 2023

Consistent water penetration into the fire area over the last several days has allowed firefighting crews to make significant progress on bringing under control the Last Resort Fire in Tyrrell County.

Firefighting personnel reached full containment on Thursday, April 13, according to an update from the North Carolina Forest Servce. The fire reached 5,280 acres in size since igniting Friday, March 24.

The odor of smoke wafted in the air across many portions of the area at times, and even as far away as northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and the Maryland suburbs.

No injuries have been reported and no structures threatened throughout the fire’s duration.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a debris burn on private land that escaped containment. A 68-year-old Windsor man was charged with starting that initial fire, WNCT-TV reported.

After moving a combined 438 million gallons of water from Phelps Lake and a freshwater canal along Seagoing Road, the N.C. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ceased water pumping operations from the second-largest naturally-formed lake in North Carolina.

Crews will continue to pull water from Seagoing Canal to maintain current water levels.

The Last Resort Fire has burned private lands and inside Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southern Tyrrell County. [NCFS map]

Significant resources will demobilize on Friday, as the unified command (UC) structure will downsize to a Type 4 Incident Management Team. Remaining resources will continue patrolling fire lines and monitoring water levels for the next several weeks to ensure the fire stays within its current footprint.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect for the Last Resort Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.

Areas on the mainland have been prone to wildfires that have burned the nutrient-rich peat soils for months, especially during periods of extended drought.

In the spring of 2016, the Whipping Creek Fire burned over 15,000 acres in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in mainland Dare and Hyde counties and the Dare Bombing Range.

While the summer of 2016 was wetter than normal, helping ease drought conditions somewhat, it took Hurricane Matthew that October to finally help extinguish the fire with record-setting rainfall and flooding.

During another serious drought year in 2011, the Pains Bay Fire burned over 45,000 acres of the refuge and bombing range while threatening to spread into the village of Stumpy Point.

That fire smoldered for months with smoke plumes visible from more than 100 miles away, that would blanket the Outer Banks with a thick, acrid haze for days when the winds blew the right direction.

It took rains from Hurricane Irene at the end of August to finally put it out.

For more updates, visit https://inciweb.wildfire.gov/incident-information/ncpor-last-resort-fire.

Share this Article

Subscribe for Daily Updates

Invalid email address
Send this to a friend