News Flash


Posted on: April 22, 2023

Great Lake Fire Update from US Forest and NC Forest Services

Great Lakes Fire grows to 35,000 acres in Croatan National Forest; Type 1 Incident Management Team to arrive for in briefing Sunday, transition command Monday 

NEW BERN – Fire crews are working to establish containment lines around the Great Lakes Fire on the Croatan National Forest in Craven and Jones counties. The fire was first detected Wednesday evening with units responding and attempting to put in containment lines around the estimated 50-acre fire. Dry windy conditions Thursday contributed to rapid fire growth. The fire’s current size is estimated at 35,000 acres with 10% containment. Primary and secondary containment lines are being established on the eastern, southern and western sides of the fire. An emphasis is being placed on protecting private lands to the north. Southerly winds are expected to continue through Saturday evening. Communities to the north of Croatan National Forest can expect smoke impacts to continue. The wind direction is expected to reverse with winds coming out of the north then west, potentially impacting the communities south and east of the forest. A chance of rain is expected in the forecast for Saturday which may reduce fire behavior in some areas. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is divided into six categories. Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern and has a specific color. The Purple or Very Unhealthy, air quality forecast today for Craven County includes a health alert where the risk of health effects is increased for everyone and not just those sensitive to air pollution. For wildfire smoke safety tips and resources, refer to the Craven County website. Additional ground and aerial resources have been called up to assist in fighting the Great Lake Fire. The Southern Area Red Team, a Type 1 Incident Management Team, is due to arrive Sunday. The fire will enter unified command between the U.S. Forest Service and N.C. Forest Service. Operational resources working the fire include personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Forest Service and Craven County fire departments. Travelers on highways adjacent to the fire area should proceed with caution, especially on highways 17 and 70 where firefighters are operating. Expect smoke in the area, particularly in the mornings and evenings. There are no injuries and no structures threatened at this time. The cause of the Great Lakes Fire remains 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 

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