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Mainland wildfire has doubled in size to over 9,600 acres

Fire burning along the ground Tuesday afternoon. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Fire burning along the ground Tuesday afternoon. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Reprinted by permission from the Outer Banks Voice.

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By Sam Walker on April 20, 2016

Helicopters are used to light burnout to eliminate fuel for the wildfire. (USFWS)

Helicopters are used to light burnout to eliminate fuel for the wildfire. (USFWS)

A wildfire along the Dare-Hyde county line has more than doubled in size during the last 24 hours, charring more than over 9,600 acres of private, state and federal land.

Low humidity and steady winds have helped with the rapid growth of the Whipping Creek Fire between Stumpy Point and Engelhard. It is estimated to be 30 percent contained.

The fire has burned portions of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the Dare Bombing Range, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission game land and land managed by The Nature Conservancy.

With winds from the north of 10 mph, gusts to 20 mph and relative humidity of 40 percent forecast for Wednesday, fire crews are expecting rapid growth to the south and slow continued growth to the northeast and east along U.S. 264, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public information officer Bonnie Strawser.

No residences are currently threatened by the fire, which was first reported Monday afternoon along 25 acres of private land. Officials have not said what may have started the fire.

The fire Tuesday night. (Hyde County Emergency Services)

The fire Tuesday night. (Hyde County Emergency Services)

Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said Tuesday evening U.S. 264 is closed to through traffic between Manns Harbor and east of Engelhard, due to smoke causing low visibility.

Stumpy Point residents are being allowed to travel beyond the roadblock at the U.S. 64 intersection but with proper ID showing a Stumpy Point address only.

Fire officials say it may be several more days before the road will reopen.

A detour sends motorists on U.S. 264 onto northbound N.C. 94 to Columbia, then east on U.S. 64. Drivers on U.S. 64 should head south on N.C. 94 to return to U.S. 264 east of Swan Quarter.

 The fire has nearly surrounded the Long Shoal River, which divides Dare and Hyde counties. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The fire has nearly surrounded the Long Shoal River, which divides Dare and Hyde counties. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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