The Fire in the Pines Festival began as Fire in the Lakes and was first held in March of 2010 at the Boiling Spring Lakes Community Center. The festival was founded by Angie Carl, the Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Plain Fire and Restoration Manager at the time. The intent was the same as it is today- to raise awareness about the importance of controlled burning and educate the public about it’s relationship to the longleaf pine forest. The first festivals were successful but considerably smaller, attendance was at about 300.
The move to Wilmington at Halyburton Park in 2014 resulted in a change in the festival’s name to “Fire in the Pines Festival” to better reflect the purpose of the event. The time of year was also moved from the Spring to October during Fire Prevention Week to bring about more awareness. The move to Halyburton Park was a success with approximately 3,000 people attending in 2014, more than all the previous year’s attendance combined.
Angie Carl has always valued the need for people to better understand controlled fire and its role in the healthy forests in our area. She brought a curiosity to figuring out how to have the community come together and appreciate controlled fire. She was a powerhouse in getting the Fire in the Pines Festival off the ground and built this amazing event for the community with the community. Angie grew this festival, and the public’s fire awareness from a small festival in Boiling Springs Lake to the amazing event in the last few years at Halyburton Park.
The festival has grown into a free environmental event for the entire family and in-person events are held each October. The past few years we have shifted to an online format due to the Covid-19 epidemic, however we are planning for an in-person event in 2022. There will be kids activities, educational opportunities, live music, food trucks, fire equipment, and a live controlled burn! There will also be a series of events in the week leading up to the festival. Visit the 2022 Festival page for more details.