HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. (WNCT) — A forest fire in the Holly Shelter Game Lands that began Aug. 2 has grown to an estimated 2,000 acres.
Thursday morning, officials working on what is now called the Juniper Road Two Fire told WNCT’s Cheyenne Pagan it was now 25% contained. Crews have been working throughout to build containment lines in order to bring the fire under control and put it out.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the Town of Holly Ridge posted on Facebook “the fire is slowing and giving forestry time to establish a good break with plows.”
Officials said the fire actually began due to a lightning strike on Aug. 2. They thought they had it contained but it rekindled Tuesday night due in large part to brush and dry conditions. They were hopeful the chance for rain Thursday and Friday will help the efforts.
There were at least 21 crew members battling the fire on the ground and in the air.
“So right now with our containment efforts there are two operational units that are working with each other on a few different sides of the fire,” said Carrie McCullen, public information officer for the N.C. Forestry Service. They are trying to contain it because it does have the potential to spread out as well as forward.”
The fire was at least two miles from Hwy. 50 near the Pender County and Onslow County line, making it difficult in some ways to battle the fire. It has not reached Onslow County but emergency services officials there said they were taking steps to be prepared to help if needed.
“It also doesn’t help the fact that we have had no substantial rainfall in this area in the past couple of weeks,” McCullen said. “So basically, everything behind me is dry tender.”
At noon, the Town of Holly Ridge posted on its Facebook page that around 75 personnel are being staged at the Holly Ridge Fire Department and will be deployed if needed. Additional crews from Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir counties have joined forces with Onslow County to get ready for what this fire may do next.
No homes were currently threatened and evacuation orders will only be issued if needed.
“We’re waiting to see what eventuality they may bring, and we’re very thankful for all the departments that have come out and responded with us,” said Onslow County Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson.
Holly Ridge and Sneads Ferry residents were expected to see smoke and ash from the fire. Smoke from the fire could cause reduced visibility, so officials are urging drivers to be cautious if they encounter such conditions.