NEW BERN, N.C (WNCT) — Crews entered the second week of work on the fire that broke out on April 19 in the Croatan National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service – National Forests in North Carolina said Wednesday evening that the fire remains at 32,400 acres burned with 30% still contained. There were 206 total personnel, four helicopters, 16 Type-6 engines, 19 Type-2 tractor plow units, one fixed-wing aircraft, two tracked vehicles and two ambulances on the scene working on Wednesday.

Crews reported some smoldering fires came to life in the extreme northern and southern ends of the fire on Wednesday. Water drops from helicopters extinguished those fires. Firefighters also worked to reinforce firelines west and south of the fire to protect Weyerhauser timber.

Officials also said new contingency lines to the northeast of the fire were created to increase the protection of nearby communities and the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.

More information from Wednesday can be seen here. The U.S. Forest Service – National Forests in North Carolina.

The fire is burning pocosin swamp and mixed fuels. It is burning within the imprint of the 2012 Dad Fire, which officials said burned 21,331 acres. No structures have been lost and none are currently threatened, officials said.

Operational resources include personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Forest Service, Craven County Emergency Services, Jones County Emergency Services, the U.S. Marine Corps and Weyerhaeuser Corporation.

The cause remains under investigation.

Community meeting Thursday

An in-person community meeting is slated for Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at Creekside Elementary School, located at 2790 Landscape Dr. in New Bern. It will also be hosted via Facebook Live at


There has been an overabundance of offers from the public regarding donations to the fire efforts. Officials said they are appreciative of the offers but they don’t have the capacity to process and store the donations on site. In lieu of donations to the Great Lakes Fire incident, officials asked the public to consider making a monetary donation to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.   

Health update

Updates on air quality can be found from several sources, including the NC Department of Environmental Quality, and Air quality remained poor for counties directly impacted by the fire: Carteret, Craven, Jones and Onslow counties.

You can also find air quality information from the NCDEQ at these links:

Smoke, wildfires and prescribed burns

Air quality index basics

Scope of the fire

The fire was first detected Wednesday evening, according to the United States Forest Service. Crews worked to put in containment lines around the fire, which was around 50 acres at the start. Limited growth happened on Thursday before the reported 7,000 acres early Friday.

By midday, the fire had reached 12,000 acres and was up to 17,000 acres later on Friday as primary and secondary containment lines were established on the eastern, southern and western sides of the fire, Parker said. That was done with an emphasis to protect private land to the north.

By the end of Friday, the fire had consumed 35,000 acres. It has grown five times its reported size of 7,000 acres, which was reported on Friday morning.

Monday night and Tuesday morning, the number of acres burned was adjusted to 32,400 after an ariel view of the area.

Croatan National Forest covers 160,000 acres and is home to a number of rare carnivorous plants like the Venus fly-trap, sunder and pitcher plant. It is remote and is bordered on three sides by bodies of water, including Bogue Sound.