LUMBERTON, N.C. – With continued regional drought conditions and high fire potential across southeastern North Carolina, the N.C. Forest Service has mobilized a state incident management team in Lumberton to provide logistical support for any needed fire response.
The command post is based out of the Southeastern Agricultural Center, located off U.S. Highway 74 East. The IMT will assist local initial attack personnel responding to any new fires in Rockingham, Fayetteville, New Bern and Whiteville forest service districts. The team is also providing support to the Rocky Mount district, specifically Greene and Wayne counties.
“When we have prolonged drought in the South Coastal Plain and Sandhills, the organic soils dry out and support combustion,” said Incident Commander Greg Smith. “A surface fire can ignite the soils below, and those soils can burn and smolder for many days or weeks until the region receives significant rainfall.”
Except for hit-or-miss thunderstorm activity, no significant precipitation is expected across the region this week.
The N.C. Forest Service Red Team will operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., until further notice. The primary objectives are to provide operational and organizational planning, logistical support and financial tracking. The team does plan to provide updates to media outlets on activities. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and span of the region, the IMT is making use of new, virtual technologies, allowing remote management and oversight of the resources assisting on the ground and across the region.
For more information about team operations and regional fire severity, contact the IMT public information officer at 919-218-3179.
–N.C. Forest Service