FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Holly Shelter Game Land closed as wildfire grows


PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The fire in the Holly Shelter Game Land has grown substantially since we told you about it FIRST ON 3 yesterday.

Firefighters said they had the fire fairly contained, but they also said they were worried about the potential of wind fanning the flames. Tonight the fire is no longer contained. In the last 24 hours it has grown from 100 acres to nearly 4,000 acres.

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“Yesterday, unfortunately, it escaped our containment lines,” Fire Team Information Officer Chris Meggs said. “It went from the lines that we had. We called it 116 acres, and then when it got out of the lines it ran very fast and burned very intensely.”

Smoke filled the air in and around the Holly Shelter Game Land Tuesday as the wildfire sparked over weekend continues to rage on. Winds Monday night caused the fire to break containment and spread quickly. Firefighters say soon it could threaten homes.

“No residents are in imminent danger, but there are residents that live on the outer fringes of the game land, and the Pender County Emergency Management folks have got structure protection plans in place for those homes,” Meggs said.

Crews believe lightning sparked the fire, which has North Carolina Forest Sservice firefighters working hard to gain the upperhand.

“This is a pretty good fire,” Fire Team Logistics Section Chief Glenn Williams. “It’s dangerous, very dangerous and with the dry conditions it certainly enhances the fire a lot.”

Because of the intensity of the flames, crews say they are taking an indirect approach toward fighting it. They are doing this by developing and strengthening lines in front of the fire.

Officials on scene say that because of high winds and dry weather this fire still has room to grow.

The game lands are closed as crews try to contain the fire. The fight is more difficult because of a lack of resources, which are being used to battle other fires around the region.

One of those other fires is burning in Bladen County. The fire started about 1:30 p.m. yesterday in the Live Oak community off Highway 53. The forest service say the fire has grown to at least 150 acres, but is contained for the time being. They do not know what caused the fire.