Firefighters working to contain blaze in Croatan

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Markeith Teel, a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, shields the side of his face from the intense heat with his hand as the fire finds fresh fuel along the edge of a section where the U.S. Forest Service was conducting burnout operations on private land next to the Croatan National Forest in Carteret County.

Don Bryan/Halifax Media
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 03:01 PM.

A 10-acre fire that began late Sunday night in the Croatan National Forest rapidly ballooned to one that had consumed 550 acres and continued to burn into Monday night.

The fire began around 9:30 p.m. Sunday in Carteret County, near the intersection of N.C. 24 and Nine Mile Road. U.S. Forest Service and other agencies are battling the blaze.

According to Forestry Incident Commander James Jerry, volunteer firefighters were the first on the scene and were able to keep the fire from jumping the road and spreading to nearby woodlands.

“It’s 60 to 70-percent contained,” Jerry said. “Right now it is just a matter of mopping up remaining hot spots.”

Rain showers predicted for Tuesday morning should also help dampen the flames.

There are no reports of injuries. One home along N.C. 24 and many trees that house the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker were threatened.

According to Jerry, firefighters from U.S. and N.C. Forest Service, volunteer fire departments and the Department of Defense were able to contain the wildfire and protect the house and trees by digging surrounding safety lines and using controlled backburns.

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