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Forest Service says Thursday wildfire still hot, but contained

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By Brian Slattery

By Renee Sloan and Brian Slattery

Staff Writers

Monday’s storms helped soak about 100 acres of timber that caught fire Thursday afternoon.

The fire sent a large, white cloud of smoke into the sky that had most of Main Street in Shallotte wondering what was on fire, and where.

The fire burned in a normally unoccupied area about two miles west of Royal Oak Road and two miles north of U.S. 17 in Lockwood Folly.

A small hunting camp inside the burn area was damaged, but no one was at the camp while forest rangers and fire crew worked on the fire lines Thursday afternoon.

Mike Malcolm, a district ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, said Tuesday that Monday’s storm dropped about two inches of rain on the area that continued to burn through the weekend.

“There’s still a little heat out there. We are in a monitoring phase,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm said about 95 acres burned in the wildfire, but the forest service had completed encircling the burnt area with fire lines and had 100 percent containment.

The forest service brought out four bulldozers Thursday afternoon to plow the lines while three single-engine aircraft tankers dropped fire retardant and a helicopter dropped water.

The land is owned by Resource Management Services, which grows pine trees for pulpwood used at the International Paper mill in Riegelwood.

“No homes were threatened, just timber,” Malcolm said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A scout plane spotted the fire around 1:48 p.m. Thursday. More than 70 acres were involved by 3:20 p.m. that afternoon.

While the tower of smoke drew people’s attention, the fire did not affect travel on U.S. 17.