Cold weather helps controlled burn off Sidbury Road - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Cold weather helps controlled burn off Sidbury Road

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Cold weather helps controlled burn off Sidbury Road Cold weather helps controlled burn off Sidbury Road

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - If you were driving along Market Street earlier Wednesday afternoon and you saw plumes of smoke in the air, don't worry -- it was supposed to be there. The Forest Service has been out in full force, burning in Brunswick County earlier this week, and 100 acres off of Sidbury Road on Wednesday.

Some may say it's too cold, but for the burning brush, it's perfect. "The hotter the air is, the hotter the fire is and the bigger control problems we have," explained area ranger, Bill Walker. It's not just the chilly air, in order to burn there has to be enough wind to get the smoke out and enough moisture.

Crews have been waiting about two years to light the particular tract of land of Sidbury Road.

"It was just too dry to be able to do it safely, and we didn't have a whole lot of cold days," said Walker.

They have to take advantage and burn when they can.  Every year the Forest Service gets requests to burn thousands of acres of land between Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender County and they only have a couple of months to do it.

"We try to get all of our hazard reduction burning done in December, January and February," said Walker. "For a number of reasons December doesn't always work out, for one thing its too warm."

Although it gets busy, clearing out the underbrush can stop a future wildfire from growing.

"If a wildfire was to move into this area, it's not going to have the fuel loading it would have," said Walker. "Meaning it's not going to burn as hot, its not going to burn as fast, and in most cases its going to go out on its own."

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