It’s official: Parts of eastern N.C. in moderate drought

Graphic courtesy National Weather Service

According to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor for North Carolina, eastern sections of the state remain in abnormally dry, leading to increased fire danger across the region.

Several southern coastal counties were upgraded to a moderate drought Thursday as dry conditions persist.

For Thursday, forecasted said there is an increased fire danger due to gusty winds, low humidity and hot temperatures. P

The recent lack of rainfall has increased the probability of wildfires, especially within the eastern portion of the North Carolina, according to the N.C. Forest Service.

At Cape Lookout National Seashore last Friday, a wildfire burned on a nearby, undeveloped, privately-owned island, sending plumes of smoke into the air that could been seen for miles.

“Browns Island is located between Harkers Island (where our Visitor Center is located) and the town of Marshallberg on the mainland,” seashore officials said on Facebook. “The North Carolina Forest Service and the Marshallberg Fire Department are monitoring the fire. Currently the fire will be allowed to burn itself out as it is confined to Browns island and cannot reach the mainland.”

Careless debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in North Carolina. Fireworks are a popular beach pastime, but they are illegal in most Outer Banks towns. Nags Head, Southern Shores and Duck all prohibit fireworks of any kind, including sparklers. Kill Devil Hill and Kitty Hawk ban fireworks that propel or explode.

Campfires and barbeques also pose fire risks. Douse burning charcoal briquettes or campfires thoroughly with water. When soaked, stir the coals and soak them again. Be sure they are out cold and carefully feel to be sure they are extinguished. Never dump hot ashes or coals into a wooded area.

For more information on ways you can prevent wildfires and loss of property, visit http://ncforestservice.gov.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.