NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Firefighters continue to contain a brush fire smoldering in Ogden Park. The fire started around 4 p.m. Monday. At this time firefighters believe a lightning strike caused the blaze.
"It seems like it's far enough away that it wouldn't affect us, and they seem to have it under control pretty good,” said Paul Giusti who lives near the fire. “But it got me a little scared at first, that's why I came out to investigate."
Giusti is one of dozens of folks who live right next to Ogden Park that came to investigate the blaze in their backyards. The fire sparked Monday afternoon, started spreading quickly, and the park was immediately evacuated.
"Some tennis matches didn't get played. Some practices didn't happen,” said New Hanover County Parks and Gardens Director Jim McDaniel. “But our sports groups really work well with us, so they have a lot of confidence in not only us but the county making sure we'll get them somewhere they can play."
McDaniel said safety is the number one priority. Fortunately, all surrounding homes and businesses are safe. No one has been displaced, and crews do not expect to have to move anyone.
New Hanover County Fire Chief Donnie Hall said neighbors do not need to worry, but said there will likely be signs of the fire for a while because it started in a heavily wooded area that has not been recently burned. Hall says there is a lot of flammable brush in the area.
"There is an enormous amount of smoke that will come up from this fire,” Hall said. “We would expect the neighbors in this area and probably for miles around to experience the smell of smoke and actually probably visibly see some smoke in this area for several days until we see some substantial rain."
About ten acres have burned so far. The park is closed to the public until further notice.