Smoke, fog combine for multiple wrecks along western Wake road

— A mulch fire on a construction site along Green Level West Road in Apex Thursday morning blanketed the area in smoke during the morning rush hour.

Neighbors point to construction site

Apex Fire Marshall Karl Huegerich said construction crews for Sun Con had been burning piles of stumps and debris as they cleared land for a new subdivision. Those fires smoldered for a few days, but got out of control on Thursday.

Nearby residents said they had smelled and seen smoke over the past few days. Some emailed WRAL News about irritated eyes or throats from the smoke.

State troopers said Sun Con’s clearing process was all aboveboard and that no laws had been broken.

The source of the fire was so deep in the woods that fire trucks were unable to reach it. Sun Con used bulldozers to spread out the burning brush over damp ground in an effort to extinguish it.

“They are trying to turn the piles over and mash them into the ground to alleviate the problem,” Huegerich said.

A damp, foggy morning contributed to the lingering heavy smoke. Huegerich said early fog and humidity kept the smoke concentrated near the ground.

There is nothing that would likely help the situation weather-wise other than rain, and there is none of that in the forecast,” WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Heavy smoke stalls traffic

While firefighters tried to put out the fire and reduce the smoke, law enforcement officers closed Green Level West Road from White Oak Church Road to Wimberly Road and parts of Roberts, Beaver Dam and Green Level Church roads from about 8 a.m. until just before 11 a.m.

Visibility was reduced to almost zero, causing multiple wrecks and cars to run off the road, Cary police said. Officers escorted stranded drivers out of the haze at 5 mph.

They estimated it would take most of the morning to clear the smoke and the accidents.

According to the state Highway Patrol, six accidents – some involving single cars and some involving multiple cars. No one was injured.

,A mulch fire on a construction site along Green Level West Road in Apex Thursday morning blanketed the area in smoke during the morning rush hour.

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