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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pine Valley Fire

Pine Valley Fire

Update 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 18
Heavy smoke can still be expected in the affected area. Wilmington Fire Department trucks will continue to remain in the area to monitor any flare-ups. The city is once again asking residents to keep vigilant and report any active flames to 911. It will be normal to see and smell smoke for the next few days - you do not need to call 911 unless you actually see flames.

Again, Halyburton Park remains open. The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail did sustain some damage, but is passable. It remains open as well, but please exercise caution if you use the trail since there is still smoke in the area and may be debris on the trail. 

Update 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17
After an initial investigation, it appears the fire was caused by a charcoal grill.

An estimated 50 acres were burned. There was no structural damage or injuries. The fire was contained in approximately 5 hours. Many agencies cooperated and assisted to get the fire under control so quickly.

A burn-out operation (controlled burn) took place at approximately 10:45 a.m. on April 17 to reduce future hazard due to unburned brush in the area.

The Wilmington Fire Department will continue to monitor the area until a significant rain fall extinguishes the fire completely. The Wilmington Police Department will also be making spot checks and coordinating with the WFD as needed.

Some flareups were reported this afternoon. The fire department advises that these could go on throughout the night and over the next few days. Heavy smoke can also be expected. The city is asking citizens to remain vigilant and report any active flames to 911. Full and/or partial road closures in the area may occur as necessary.

Halyburton Park was unaffected by the fire and remains open. There was some damage to the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail near the museum.

8:30 p.m., Monday, April 16
The Wilmington Fire Department reports that the brush fire in the Pine Valley area has been contained and no longer poses a serious danger to residents in the area. Approximately 50-60 acres have burned with 15-20 homes evacuated. Two or three homes sustained some fire damage but no injuries have been reported. There have also been reports of damage to the portion of the Cross City Trail that runs through the area, but the extent of damage is not known at this time. Fire officials will remain on site tonight and tomorrow morning, damage assessments will begin.

As of 8:30 p.m. (Monday, April 16) all streets were open and the evacuation notice put in place earlier this afternoon was lifted. For the next several days, residents in the area will continue to smell smoke. There is no need for residents to call 911 because of the smell smoke as fire officials will continue to monitor the area to make sure the fire does not re-occur.

The city regrets the inconvenience this incident may have caused. Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said in a message to residents in the area, "We would like to thank the residents of Pine Valley for their patience and cooperation as emergency personnel from throughout the area worked together to control this fire. The safety of our citizens is of utmost importance and we appreciate the support and cooperation we have received." 

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