Weather helping efforts to contain bombing range fire on Dare mainland

N.C. Forest Service crews set backfires to burn off vegetation as part of containment efforts of the Jackson Road Fire on March 8, 2022. [courtesy N.C. Forest Service]

The cool, wet weather of the last two days has helped with efforts to suppress a wildfire that’s been burning in the military bombing range on the Dare County mainland since at least early Tuesday.

The Jackson Road Fire has covered 1,060 acres and was 65 percent contained, according to an update posted Thursday morning on the N.C. Forest Service’s situation page.

What caused the fire has not been released by state forestry officials, who are in charge of the firefighting effort.

Some burn over into Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has been reported, which surrounds the bombing range operated jointly by the Navy and Air Force, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crews have also been working the fire.

The fire is centered about 5 miles northwest of Stumpy Point in the Dare County Bombing Range. [NC Forest Service images]

Much of the areas near the ranges in Dare and Hyde counties are uninhabited. But the nearby villages of Stumpy Point, Manns Harbor and Englehard, and especially travelers along U.S. 264, are likely to continue experiencing smoky conditions depending on the wind direction and speed.

Smoke could be smelled as far as Roanoke Island at times earlier this week.

A recent lack of rain has the region once again moving towards drought conditions after a mostly dry February. Northeastern North Carolina area experienced severe drought conditions through much of December.

In past droughts, the same area where the Jackson Road Fire is burning has been prone to wildfires that have ignited the nutrient-rich peat soils and smoldered for months.