Update: North Carolina Wildfire Costs Reach $4.9 Million

June 23, 2008

The cost to fight a massive wildfire in eastern North Carolina is going up.

Fire command center spokesman Dean McAlister said June 19 the costs have reached $4.9 million.

Officials battling the fire in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge say it could be months before they get the major rainfall needed to extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters continue to spray water on hotspots in the smoldering peat soil. Crews drained three of the 5 inches allowed from Lake Phelps to douse the burning soil.

The fire has burned roughly 41,000 acres in the sparsely populated area of three eastern counties. It remains 70 percent contained.

Fires in North Carolina and Virginia’s Dismal Swamp are blanketing many coastal communities with heavy smoke, prompting health advisories.

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