Large prescribed burn planned today on marshland south of Pirate’s Cove

A prescribed burn last year at Jockey’s Ridge. [Photo courtesy Friends of Jockey’s Ridge]

The N.C. Forest Service plans to conduct a 780-acre prescribed burn today along Rte. 64, inbound to Nags Head, on marshland managed by the state Wildlife Resources Commission.

The burn is scheduled for this afternoon as long wind direction cooperates, forestry officials said.

The goals of the burn are to benefit the forest environment, improve wildlife habitat and reduce fuels in areas where homes and structures are at risk in the event of a wildfire. The burn is one of many planned for the area during 2021.

Regular burns promote the growth of marsh grasses, suppress woody vegetation and prevent closure of small waters holes critical for waterfowl, Forest Services said in a news release.

Residents and others should drive carefully when in the burn area along Rte. 64. During the burn, proper personnel and equipment will be on-site, and the burn area will be closed to the public to ensure safety.

All prescribed burns are thoroughly planned and analyzed by a team of specialists to ensure that wildlife, fisheries, rare plants, and historic sites are not harmed. Wind and relative humidity are key factors in fire behavior, safety and smoke control. Prescribed burning will only occur when environmental conditions permit.

There are multiple cooperating agencies involved in today’s burn including the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Dare County Emergency Management, N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy.

Prescribed fire is the planned use of fire under predetermined weather and fuel parameters to obtain specific management objectives. Many of our forest ecosystems require fire to remain healthy and thrive. This is a critical management tool that benefits forests and wildlife and helps reduce the impact of wildfire hazards in North Carolina.

With 13.5 million acres, North Carolina leads the nation in wildland urban interface, which is where human development meets undeveloped wildland, forest or vegetative fuels.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit

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