Officials offer fire safety tips in aftermath of recent ENC wildfires

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) — Two forest fires erupted over the weekend, one in Craven County and another in Carteret County, leading to evacuations and leaving hundreds of acres scorched. The Jacksonville Fire Department is emphasizing safety measures to prevent future fires.

The fire in Atlantic, Carteret County, threatened 20 homes. “They can rapidly spread due to the drought,” said resident Scott Altlend. “With dry vegetation, it spreads quickly.”

Carteret County deputies report that the fire is 75% contained after burning 550 acres.

Deputy Fire Marshal Michael Jordan noted that such fires are not uncommon in the current dry conditions.

“We have not had rain in quite a while, so it is very dry,” Jordan said.

To prevent small fires from becoming large ones, the fire department advises having a water hose or rakes available during outdoor burning.

Altlend, who has a fire pit in his backyard, ensures safety by wetting the area around the fire. “Personally, I notice the dry grass,” he said. “We have a fire pit, and if I do start a fire, I wet the land around it.”

The fire department stresses the importance of immediate action in case of a fire. “The first thing you want to do is get out and notify everybody else to get out,” Jordan said. “Report it, then ensure emergency services and the fire department are called to assist.”

Jacksonville prohibits open burning within city limits, except for cooking and warmth on chilly nights.