Croatan wildfire nearly contained


Areas of scorched forest near a fire break line are shown at the site of a wildfire in the Croatan National Forest near Newport.

John Althouse/Halifax Media
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 06:19 PM.

A wildfire that started Sunday night in the Croatan National Forest is mostly contained, fire officials said Tuesday.

The 533-acre blaze near N.C. 24 and Nine Mile Road in Carteret County was two-thirds contained with full containment expected in the next 24 hours, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Rain that fell Tuesday morning helped firefighters, who had already managed to get the fire 50 percent contained on Monday.

All roads are open in the area, though some hiking trails in the forest remain closed.

The fire, which began late Sunday, is believed to have been started by a person and is being investigated as a possible arson case, said James Cherry, district fire management officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

One home along N.C. 24 and many trees that house the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker were threatened by the fire. Firefighters were able to contain the wildfire and protect the house and trees by digging surrounding safety lines and using controlled backburns, Cherry said.

No injuries or property damage have been reported, officials said.

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