State News

Fewer firefighters work wildfire in eastern N.C.

Posted June 17, 2008 8:31 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2008 2:04 p.m. EDT

— Firefighters continued to work Tuesday to extinguish a wildfire that's burned more than 41,000 acres in eastern North Carolina, but there are signs that the effort is less intense than it once was.

The number of firefighters working the blaze in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge stood at 465 Tuesday, down from a high of 570 last week.

Command Center spokesman Dean McAlister said Tuesday it would take weeks – and, likely, tropical moisture – to extinguish the blaze completely, but containment efforts were becoming "a holding pattern."

The fire was about 70 percent contained Tuesday, up from 60 percent a day earlier, officials said.

Smoke from the fire continues to cause unhealthy air conditions with the state forecasting another day of Code Purple conditions Tuesday in eight eastern counties. Nine other counties are under the lower Code Orange conditions.

Map: Progress of the fire

In the map below, the area of the fire is designated in red. Pushpins signal poor air quality reports, with the darker pins indicating reports of limited visibility due to the smoke in the air.