A wildfire burning in the wilderness area of North Cumberland Island since last weekend has grown to 354 acres.
Firefighters have established structure protection zones in the High Point areas, a tract with historic structures owned by the Candler family. Another zone has been created near the Settlement, an area that included the First African Baptist Church where John Kennedy Jr. married in 1996.
The National Park Service established a fuel break along North Cut Road, clearing debris and fuels along the road edge several years ago. The road is considered a defensible fire zone crews are using to protect historic structures and residents living in the north end of the island. So far, no evacuations have been ordered.
Command of fire operations has been given to the Southern Area Gray Incident Management Team. There are 58 personnel, one helicopter and five engines currently assigned to the incident.
Day visitors and overnight campers are still allowed on the south end of the island, but the primitive Brickhill Bluff Campground remains closed. The Land & Legacies Tour will only go as far north as Plum Orchard mansion.
Smoke impacts continue to be minimal.
Other closures include the following:
· North Cut Road including the Shell Road to the old wharf ruins
· Main Road at the junction of South Cut Road, Main Road is closed from here to the north
· Killman Field Trail
· Bunkley Trail
·Rollercoaster Trail north of South Cut Road
· Brickhill Trail
·Terrapin Point Trail
· Lake Whitney Trail
The fire will be allowed to continue to burn until it threatens structures and private property because the wilderness area is a fire-dependent ecosystem. The last time the area burned was in 2008 when a lightning strike ignited a wildfire.