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Hyde County wildfire causes expected low visibility for Monday morning commute

Credit N.C. Forest Service (Pic from Saturday June 25).png
Credit N.C. Forest Service.png
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 26, 2022

HYDE COUNTY, N.C. - A wildfire in Hyde County has caused smoke and fog to lead to low visibility.

As of Tuesday, northern containment lines around the Ferebee Road Fire held firm against a southern wind push from Monday’s nearby afternoon storms, keeping the fire at 1,938 acres in size and 24% contained.

Water is now flowing from the canals near New Lake into the south end of the fire area.

Crews are nearing completion of pump installations at Gamble Road and expect to begin pumping water from Phelps Lake sometime Wednesday.

Smoke and fog impacts were minimal during the Tuesday morning commute and should remain low throughout Tuesday.

As crews work to fully contain the fire, significant smoke is likely, and resulted in tedious travel conditions Sunday evening into Monday morning. Commuters should plan for extra travel time or take alternate routes. Officials say overnight, a combination of smoke and fog will lead to low visibility with possible zero visibility for some areas.

Early Sunday morning, Highway 45 was temporarily closed for travel from Ponzer to Pungo due to smoke and fog. Highway 45 is expected to reopen for travel some time Sunday, however, road closures may be put in place as needed due to low visibility and in the interest of public safety.

Significant smoke along the 264 and Highway 45 corridors between Rose Bay, Pantego and Ponzer should be expected.

According to the National Weather Service, drivers should keep the following safety tips in mind if travel is necessary in foggy conditions:

  • Slow down. Allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Make your vehicle visible to others in front of you and behind you. Use your low-beam headlights. Use fog lights if you have them.
  • Never use your high-beam lights. High-beam lights cause glares, making it more difficult to see what’s ahead of you on the road.
  • Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or change in traffic patterns.
  • To ensure you are staying in the proper lane, follow the lines on the road with your eyes.
  • In extremely dense fog where visibility is near zero, the best course of action is to first turn on your hazard lights, then simply pull into a safe location such as a parking lot of a local business and stop.
  • If there is no parking lot or driveway to pull into, pull your vehicle off to the side of the road as far as possible. Once you come to a stop, turn off all lights except your hazard flashing lights, set the emergency break, and take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the taillights are not illuminated so that other drivers don’t mistakenly run into you.

There continue to be no injuries and no structures damaged at this time.

A temporary flight restriction (TFR) has been issued for the Ferebee Road Fire. The TFR restricts all civilian aircraft, manned and unmanned, within 5 miles of the fire. The flight restriction remains in place until aviation support is no longer needed.