The woods fire that was fought by several local fire departments last week is still smoldering, Glenn Watkins of North Carolina Forestry Service said yesterday.
The May 22 blaze that made its way through 110 acres of woods brought the rural area of Kelly to life as planes, helicopters and firetrucks dumped water on the flames to try to keep the spreading to a minimum. The fire is believed to have been caused by a lightning storm in the area a couple of nights before, Watkins said.
Kyle Powell of the forestry service was the first on the scene, and reinforcements were quickly called in. Three bombers, a lead plane, a scout plane and a helicopter dumped water as six tractor/plow units worked from the ground to cut fire lines and keep the blaze under control.
Kelly Station 56 was dispatched and was quickly assisted by White Lake Station 58, Bay Tree Station 66, Elizabethtown Station 55, Hickory Grove Station 64, Ammon Station 62, and Pender County’s Atkinson Fire Department.
“It’s still burning out there,” Watkins said Thursday morning. “I went out to check on it yesterday afternoon and it was still smoking.”
The fire was on property belonging to Squires Timber Company, Watkins said, and the Squires workers have been helping to keep the fire under control for the past week.
Station 55 firefighters staged at the airport in Elizabethtown to assist with filling planes that were flying to Kelly to dump gallons upon gallons of water onto the flames in an aerial attack.
“Forestry did an excellent job getting people dispatched, and Elizabethtown did an excellent job filling the planes at the airport,” said White Lake Fire Chief Dale Brennan, who assumed command at the scene.
“We’re thankful people could come out and help, because it took everybody’s effort,” Brennan added. “Everybody knew what to do, from the dispatchers on through those who responded.
“There’s just a good working relationship between the county, forestry and the volunteer fire departments,” he said.