PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Crews battling wildfires in Pender County since last week have yet another fire on their hands. Over the weekend, the Blueberry Farm Fire rekindled in Sampson County and crossed into Pender. It forced residents of Lizzie Henry Road to be evacuated Saturday.
The blaze is most intense, in some circumstances, less than a mile from their homes.
“I haven’t cried yet, and I don’t think that I will be able to quit when I start,” said Mary Meredith, who lives on Lizzie Henry Road.
With a wildfire almost in her backyard, Meredith is emotional. She returned to her home Monday after spending the past two days with family.
Meredith suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and walks with a walker. Those conditions combined with how closer her home is to the fire made for a unique evacuation Saturday.
“The smoke had really began to engulf, and there were planes all over, and five minutes after that there was an emergency rescue squad here, and we went to the hospital,” Meredith said.
She was treated for smoke inhalation. She says she is now feeling much better.
Although the most intense part of the fire is close to Lizzie Henry Road, residents like Meredith can stay positive as containment lines surround the blaze.
“We were able to get at least four to six lines around this fire. That would be the containment,” Sampson County Forest Ranger Grant Jones. “Now what we are doing is trying to go into the control mode.”
This fire crossed from Sampson County into Pender County after growing from 90 acres to 700 acres. Officials say their first priority is residents off Lizzie Henry Road.
“You can’t replace life,” Jones said. “We try and protect the individuals first and then protect their homes and then the woods come third.”
Even though it’s contained, it will take a lot of rain to put this fire out.
“We need a tropical depression that’s going to dump six to eight inches of rain,” Jones said. It’s a forecast that’s no where in sight.
Over the weekend Gov. Bev Perdue declared a State of Emergency in eastern North Carolina because of the wildfires and dry conditions. A burn ban is also still effect.