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Rain not enough to contain wildfire

The North Carolina Forest Service said Sunday that officials recorded rainfall of about 1.8 inches just outside the boundary of the fire burning in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Heavy rain fell on the northern half of an eastern North Carolina wildfire but did not cover the entire blaze that has burned about 64 square miles.

The North Carolina Forest Service said Sunday that officials recorded rainfall of about 1.8 inches just outside the fire boundary. But the south and west areas of the fire did not receive any rain.

The fire is about 75 percent contained and is mostly smoldering through interior vegetation, spewing smoke into nearby towns. The fire in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has been burning since June 1.

Fire crews comprised of 365 workers have been working to pump water through the peat soils in an effort to drown the fire.

Map: Progress of the fire

In the map below, the area of the fire is designated in red. Pushpins signal air quality forecasts.

Code Red or Purple, indicating the highest concentration of particle pollutants, is forecast Tuesday for Hyde, Tyrrell, eastern Washington, Dare, extreme eastern Gates, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden and Currituck counties and areas along the Outer Banks from Ocracoke Inlet up to Virginia.

Code Orange air quality is forecast in eastern Gates county, Perquimans county, central Washington county, and the western tip of Hyde County.

Protect yourself from wildfire smoke

  • Reduce time outdoors. This can provide protection, especially in a tightly closed house where the air-conditioner can re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air.
  • Reduce time engaged in outdoor physical activity. This can be effective in lowering the dose of inhaled air pollutants.
  • Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution that can emit the same pollutants found in wildfire smoke. Indoor sources such as burning cigarettes, gas, propane and wood-burning stoves and furnaces, and activities such as cooking, burning candles and incense and vacuuming can greatly increase the particle levels in a home and should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.

(Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

The state Division of Public Health lists the symptoms of smoke exposure as:

  • coughing
  • scratchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • irritated sinuses
  • chest pain
  • headaches
  • stinging eyes
  • runny nose

You can help

North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief is providing showers, laundry services and food to firefighters in Hyde County. To donate to the relief effort, send a check to: NCBM Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512.

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