Update: Firefighters Pump Lake Water to Douse North Carolina Blaze

June 17, 2008

Firefighters will pump 6 million gallons an hour from two lakes to saturate a huge wildfire in eastern North Carolina that’s burned for more than two weeks.

The fire, started by a lightning strike on private land, began June 1 in the peat soil around Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Dean McAlister, a spokesman for the incident command center, said June 16 that firefighters will pump 6 million gallons an hour from Lake Phelps and New Lake to saturate land closest to communities.

He described the action as “the equivalent of moving up the hurricane season.”

The more than 41,000-acre fire remains 40 percent contained, but McAlister said he expected that figure to increase. It has caused warnings for poor air quality hundreds of miles away and for dense smoke in the area.

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