Heavy smoke filled the skies around Havelock Thursday, but residents had no cause for alarm. All the smoke was from a nearby prescribed burn in the Croatan National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service planned to burn about 682 acres of underbrush off Greenfield Heights Boulevard and Sunset Road, according to a release.
The burn is designed to reduce the amount of underbrush, leaves and pinestraw that could fuel wildfires, thus reducing risks to nearby homes, according to the release. The burn is also designed to improve habitat for fire-adapted species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and help restore the longleaf pine ecosystem.
Forestry officials were monitoring the burn both on the ground and in the air with a helicopter, according to the release, and were receiving updates from the National Weather Service in Newport to make sure conditions were good for the prescribed burn.