UPDATES: Great Lakes fire 30% contained

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Downtown Washington looked like a scene from an apocalyptic movie on Friday evening, April 21. The air had a yellow haze, the sun appeared to be red and ash fell from the sky. The doomsday scene was the result of a wildfire within the Croatan National Forest in Craven and Jones Counties.  

The U.S. Forest Service office in North Carolina is calling the wildfire the Great Lakes Fire. It is currently 32,400 acres in size as of Monday evening where it had been 7,000 on Friday. 

As of Tuesday morning, it is 30% contained, according to Operations Section Chief, Shawn Nagle. The portion that is contained is on the eastern side of the fire. The northern portion of the fire is approximately two to three miles from the nearest residential areas. “We have a good opportunity to continue withholding and improving all those containment lines so there’s no impacts in the future to all those residential areas.” 

 There are an estimated 245 personnel working to extinguish the expansive fire. 

Nagle said “a bit more smoke” in the area is expected given Tuesday’s weather conditions which are dry and warmer. “If you’re seeing smoke, it’s perfectly within our expectations. You’ll likely see smoke today just because of the weather situation.” 

“If you must be in the fire area please turn on your headlights and slow down at every chance you can get,” Nagle advised. “Please don’t go over or around any barricades.” 

A cause for the wildfire has yet to be determined, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s North Carolina office.