Non-Controversial Meeting with NPS has Low Attendance

Jenny Scarborough

NPS will re-establish a decade old fire break around the village sometime next week.

Three members of the Ocracoke Fire Protection Association were in attendance at an informational meeting hosted by Deputy Chief Ranger Jon Anglin of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Islanders will not be upset, "just thankful" to see heavy equipment arrive, said OFPA Secretary Janey Jacoby.

The 50 foot wide corridor between the seashore and the village buys time and gives firefighters space to work should a marsh fire threaten Ocracoke, said Anglin.

NPS has contracted with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to do the work. "They have the equipment and the expertise," said Anglin, who hopes the fire break will be maintained on an annual basis. The original 2003 corridor was not maintained due to other needs that took budgetary precedent, said Anglin.

During dry years, NPS workers can keep the corridor clear with bush hogs and tractors, though the seashore currently lacks trained equipment operators.

This year's $14,000 investment to build fire breaks on Ocracoke and in South Nags Head will provide homeowners peace of mind in the near future. but if Congress does not end the budget sequestration, NPS will see an 8% reduction across the board.

Firefighter Ernest Doshier said Tideland Electrical Membership Co-op showed an interest in helping maintain the corridor if NPS can't.

His agency "would be amenable to pursuing something like that," said Anglin, adding that the bureaucratic process to create agreements between federal agencies and private corporations takes time.

In other fire fighting news, the pinkish paint islanders are seeing on the new fire station is a primer, said Jacoby. The final color will be "more of a tan," she hopes.


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