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Area firefighters stayed busy extinguishing blazes that erupted Friday and continued through the weekend at various sites in Brunswick County.
Phillip Inman, county ranger for the North Carolina Forest Service, estimated about 30 fires broke out over a four-day period.
One of the largest ones burned along Alligator Road in the Ash area, Brunswick County Fire Marshal Scott Garner said.
More fires flared up in Supply.
“It’s across the board,” Inman said Monday. “We’ve had a number of woods arson fires.”
He counted seven fires on Saturday and 13 on Sunday in the Ash and Supply areas, two of which were attributed to arson. In addition, a new fire broke out Monday in a wooded area near Oak Island’s new bridge extension, Inman said.
Both municipal and county fire departments, including Grissettown-Longwood, Waccamaw, Supply, Civietown, stayed busy extinguishing blazes that Garner said were scattered from Leland to Calabash and Southport to Ash.
“It was a busy weekend,” Garner said.
Inman said the largest was a fire that erupted Saturday and quickly spread near Neck Road off Old Ocean Highway in Bolivia.
Inman said there have been some leads on the arson incidents but no one has yet been charged.
Most of the blazes were debris burns that had gotten out of control, he said.
Inman said one fire off Mount Misery Road in the Northwest and Leland area was a railroad fire.
“The train sets a fire as it goes through,” Inman said, noting sparks are ignited by the friction of the train’s brakes.
“A train went through about the time of the fire,” he said.
Statewide, conditions have been ripe for fires, with high winds and low humidity, Garner and Inman said. The state forestry service estimated 400 fires have erupted across North Carolina since Friday, burning more than 10,000 acres.
Inman said in three days, that’s already half the average of 20,000 acres that burn annually in the state. He said more than 100 acres have burned in Brunswick County.
“Our fire danger readings are extremely high right now,” Inman said.
Garner said many of the fires Sunday were concentrated in Ash and Supply. Structures were threatened but Garner said he isn’t aware of any that were lost.
While there is no ban on open burning, Garner advised caution in the wake of the hazardous conditions.
“If you must burn, do it on days when the weather’s conditions are right—winds are down, and humidity is not so low,” he said. “And always make sure you have the appropriate tools.”
If a fire gets out of control, he advises calling 911 immediately instead of waiting until it gets too big.