NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Croatan National Forest officials are planning two prescribed burns Wednesday in Craven County.

Officials said the purpose of the burn is to “reduce the amount of fuel on the forest floor to prevent catastrophic wildfires. The burn will also improve habitat for fire-adapted species such as the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and will help restore the longleaf pine ecosystem.”

The prescribed burns include:

  • The 696-acre Siddie Fields burn located off Pine Crest Road and Pine Cliff Road seven miles east of Cherry Point, near the communities of Cherry Branch East, Shadyview Beach, and North Harlowe.
  • The 579-acre Cahooque Creek burn located off of Cahooque Creek Road three miles east of Cherry Point, near the Cahooque Creek community.

Officials will use a helicopter to manage the burn. The use of drones near the burn is prohibited.

The public is advised to be aware of smoke and firefighters working in these areas and avoid Siddie Fields Road and Cahooque Creek Road, and drive with caution around prescribed burn personnel.

Cahooque Creek Boat Ramp will be closed Wednesday for the duration of the burn.