For Immediate Release Information Officer August 10, 2011 757- 986-3705 ext. 26
FIREFIGHTING FORCE GROWS AT WILDFIRE
IN THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Nearly 100 firefighters are on the ground and in the air fighting the Lateral West Fire in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Since Friday morning, the numbers of people and amount of equipment has increased every day. Fire professionals are on foot with hand tools, aboard heavy equipment and flying helicopters working to suppress the wildfire. The interagency Southern Area Incident Management Blue Team is now working for the refuge managing the fire. As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday the fire was estimated to be 3,200 acres. The fire is southwest of Lake Drummond off Interior Ditch Road. This morning the fire crossed into the Dismal Swamp State Park in North Carolina.
For firefighter and public safety, the following closures are in place until further notice. Lake Drummond is closed to boating. Railroad Ditch Road is closed to all public use activities including scheduled tours. The Lake Drummond Reservation and boat trolley, located between Lake Drummond and the Dismal Swamp Canal, are closed.
The Dismal Swamp State Park in North Carolina is closed until further notice.
Firefighters continue to work at constructing and reinforcing fire breaks. Additional people and equipment are en route. The information officer can be reached at 757-986-3705 ext. 26.
The Lateral West Fire was started by a several day-old lightning strike in the refuge interior. The fire was reported to the refuge at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2011.