Juniper Road Two Fire Details: Wildfire in Holly Shelter Game Lands

A 1,200+ acre wildfire in the Holly Shelter Game Lands continues to burn and details of the blaze are becoming clear.

Earning the name “The Juniper Road Two Fire,” officials have been working throughout the week to measure, monitor, and control the fire that is believed to have begun following a dry-lightning strike on (or perhaps in the days prior to) August 2, 2022.

Dry-lightning strikes are common causes of wildfires across the globe, and occur when rain evaporates from the storm clouds that are producing lightning before it is able to reach the ground. A team of officials (which include collaborative staff from Pender County Emergency Management, Onslow County Emergency Management, and North Carolina Forest Service) believe that in the case of Juniper Road Two Fire, dry-lighting struck a tall pine tree near Juniper Road – as there are many in the area.

How The Juniper Road Two Fire Started

Back on August 2nd, crews in the air observed smoke above the Holly Shelter Game Lands. They worked quickly to identify the location and were able to fully contain the small fire that same day. Unfortunately, smoldering hot spots can reignite days after initial containment, which is what is believed happened leading up to The Juniper Road Two Fire.

The fire itself began earning public attention earlier this week when large plumes of smoke began filling the skies across the greater Topsail area. Since that time, officials have been working to manage the fire and advise the public on the status and details of the fire as it continues.

The Juniper Road Two Fire Size & Containment

Earlier this week the fire was estimated to have consumed over 2,000 acres. Leveraging new reconnaissance from the air on Thursday, officials clarified on Friday morning that the size of the fire was closer to 1,230 acres in size. During their assessment of the fire, it was also estimated that 25% of the fire had been contained.

Friday’s weather has brought long-needed rain to the region which will help to limit the spread of the fire. The incoming cold front and related storm clouds are coming into the area with a change in wind direction which is expected to carry plumes of smoke (and the related smell of smoke in the air) further to the northeast – affecting a region from Sneads Ferry on up to Emerald Isle.

While Friday’s rain and thunderstorm activity will help to address the drought conditions that have contributed to the spread of the fire, the size of the fire may enable it to continue to spread in the coming days. For that reason, we here at Topsail Guide and public officials are stressing that visitors and residents of the area remain vigilant and informed regarding the potential impact.

At the time this article was published, officials stated that no structures or dwellings were in danger.

Location of The Juniper Road Two Fire

As the name suggests, The Juniper Road Two Fire is in close proximity to Juniper Road within the Holly Shelter Game Lands. The exact location is undetermined, but Juniper Road is a series of gravel roads located in the northeast region of Holly Shelter Game Lands. The image below depicts the area for reference.

Approximate location of The Juniper Road Two Fire in Holly Shelter Game Lands in August, 2022
Approximate location of The Juniper Road Two Fire in Holly Shelter Game Lands in August 2022

Holly Shelter Game Lands: Wildfire History

Long-time residents of the Hampstead and Holly Ridge area of the Topsail region may recall previous fires occurring in the Holly Shelter Game Lands. North Caroline Forest Service officials believe that there have been at least 60 separate fires over the past 100 years, and even in the name of The Juniper Road Two Fire, there’s an element of history.

Back in 2011, a wildfire in the same area of the Holly Shelter Game Lands earned the name The Juniper Road Fire. That fire consumed 21,000 acres so it was substantially smaller than the current fire – but required significant efforts to put out, as video below shows.

The Juniper Road Two Fire – Videos & Media

Video of 2011’s Juniper Road Fire


Featured Image Credit: A collection of photographs courtesy of Onslow County Emergency Management depict the scenes around The Juniper Road Two Fire in August 2022. Courtesy of Onslow County Emergency Management (Facebook)


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