From Hyde County Emergency Services, April 22, 2016
The Whipping Creek Road Fire is presently 9,780 acres and 15 percent contained. Accurate mapping of the fire yesterday caused the fire footprint to be downsized more than 4,000 acres.
Fire managers’ suppression plans continue to hold the fire south of Jackson and Maple Roads as contingency lines. However, the western flank of the fire is still south of Whipping Creek Road. NC Forest Service heavy equipment is being used to improve this road as a primary fire break.
With a cold front approaching from the west today, the wildfire will push north under less favorable growth conditions.
Increased cloud cover, higher humidity, and periodic rain showers or thunderstorms will be working against the fire. However, forecasted gusty winds from the southwest could overcome these weather obstacles and speed the fire’s growth to the north and east. Moving in this direction, smoke from the fire could impact the Outer Banks and communities to the north, including the Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach metropolitan areas.
For information on local and regional air quality the NC Department of Environmental Quality provides daily air quality updates at https://xapps.ncdenr.org/aq/ForecastCenter.
US Highway 264 between the communities of Stumpy Point and Engelhard remains closed due to safety hazards associated with the fire on the road shoulder, poor visibility due to smoke, and burned-out power poles and guard rail supports.
The NC Department of Transportation has installed detour signs as needed to redirect traffic normally traveling along this highway.
Although the fire has burned lands in Dare and Hyde Counties, its flames have not directly threatened any nearby communities. All public facilities in the area are open for business.
While air quality officials have scaled back an advisory for air pollution in eastern North Carolina over the weekend as smoke from wildfires subsided on Friday, residents close to the fires in Brunswick, Dare and Hyde counties could experience unhealthy air quality, depending on wind directions.
A 10,000-acre wildfire in Hyde County and a 1,500-acre fire in Brunswick County are affecting some coastal communities with smoke that could contain high levels of particle pollution.
High particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.