Fire Island, a barrier island just south of Long Island, has been issued a voluntary evacuation order ahead Hurricane Irene.

The order was issued by officials of The Town of Islip on the mainland, which recommended that residents and tourist leave Fire Island by Thursday afternoon.

Officials have stated that the voluntary order could soon be changed into a mandatory one.

“Although at this point we have not issued a mandatory evacuation order, we feel that it is in the best interests of the residents of Fire Island to begin to leave now,” Town of Islip Supervisor Phil Nolan said, according to local media.

We feel that residents should begin to leave Fire Island today and Friday to avoid a rush of people as the storm nears Long Island.”

Irene, a Category 3 storm featuring winds of almost 115 mph, is expected to pass by Fire Island this weekend.

Fire Island typically is more to 3,000 seasonal residents and is generally accessible only by ferries which cross the Great South Bay.

A hurricane in September 1938 hit Fire Island, destroying 265 homes and damaging another 32. According to accounts from FairHarbor.com, winds reached 120 mph during the tempest, with storm surges of 10 feet on the ocean and 13 to 15 feet on the Great South Bay.