Late next month crews plan to re-establish a fire break between the town of Nags Head, North Carolina, and the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The fire break will extend where the National Park Service boundary crosses Highway 12 at Whalebone eastward to the Dominion Power electrical corridor and then south to where the electrical corridor meets the Old Oregon Inlet Road (NC Route 1243).
The fire break will be created with the use of two types of lightweight, tracked vehicles. One, called a Marsh Master, with an attached mowing deck, will be used in grassy areas of the break.The other, called a Geo-boy, uses a mower head that shreds brush and woody vegetation. Both pieces of equipment are designed for use in marshy environments like those found on Bodie Island.
The break might not be completely cleared of vegetation, as all woody vegetation with a diameter greater than six inches will be left in place and multiple passes will be needed to create a unified appearance.
Fire breaks aid fire suppression efforts by allowing firefighters to move around the periphery of a blaze, while providing defensible space to help fight a potential fire threatening structures. They also help contain fires by denying "fuel" such as brush, grasses, and small trees, and reduce how fast fire moves thereby reducing the probability of fires moving from NPS lands onto private property. As a result, this fire break will reduce the threat of wildland fire to private homes along the Bodie Island boundary of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, according to seashore officials.
An informational open house regarding this project will be held on December 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Nags Head Fire Station 16, at 5314 S. Croatan Highway, across from Nags Head Town Hall.