Authorities Say North Carolina Wildfire Could Burn for Months

June 9, 2008

Fire officials warned people living near a massive wildfire at a federal wildlife refuge in eastern North Carolina that the blaze could smolder for months in the peat-filled soil.

The fire burned about 30,000 acres in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina, about 70 miles south of Norfolk, Va., as of June 7.

North Carolina Forest Service spokesman Bill Swartley says the fire spread rapidly, but was now burning new land much more slowly.

Swartley says the soil in the area is full of peat, which burns easily and will likely smolder for months unless several inches of rain fall at one time.

Swartley says high temperatures near the fire are creating ripe conditions for the blaze to keep burning.

Winds shifted from the west June 7, blowing smoke toward the Outer Banks.

No injuries or structure damage has been reported.

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