Pender County wildfire 43% contained

More than 80 operations and administrative personel involved

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – Crews continue to battle a wildfire in the Holly Shelter Game Lands. 

The Juniper Road Two Fire started August 2 from a lightning strike, and covers more than 1,200 acres.  

Despite the inch of rainfall from Friday, fire crews continue to work on putting out the fire.

More than 30 personnel on the ground faced with challenges, according to Corey Klamut with the North Carolina Forest Service. Fire fighters have more than the heat to contend with.

“It’s tough ground, wet, nothing to step on, it’s hard work, very thick, very heavy brush,” he said. “Walking behind the dozers, it’s hot, you can barely get enough water in you.”

A dozen bulldozers on the ground are creating fire lines, and four more from other areas of the state arrived over the weekend.

According to firefighter Bruno Godwin with the Forest Service, there are many challenges wildland firefighter are faced with.

“Snakes, as a matter of fact this place is full of snakes,” he said. “Other wildlife like coyotes, and alligators.” 

Godwin said Forest Service firefighters do a lot of training when they aren’t firefighting, and said his team look at themselves as public servants.

“With that, it becomes a sense of obligation,” he said. “So, we don’t think of ourselves, we just go.”

The wind shifting direction due to weather patterns through the start of the week but smoke is still a concern for the Forest Service.  

When the fire will be contained is uncertain.

“We can be here several weeks or several months,” said Klamut. “We don’t know,”

A temporary flight restriction is in place which prevents all civilian aircraft from flying within five miles of the wildfire, and will remain in effect until flight crews combating the fire from the air are no longer needed.

Fifty administration personnel are supporting the operation.

The biggest concern Sunday is the predicted drop in humidity. Getting a break from the high temps is good for ground personnel. However, the relative humidity will cause fuels to dry up causing flare ups, which remain a concern for the Forest Service. 

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