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Mon June 6, 2011
Drought, Smoke, Wildfire, No Rain for Days
By Roderick McClain
Wilmington, NC – Winds have carried smoke from a Dare County Wildfire into the Cape Fear Region. Residents noticed significant haze and smoke this morning. WHQR's Roderick McClain reports that fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is affecting some coastal communities with smoke that could contain high levels of particle pollution.
The fire started from a May lightning strike and has since burned more than 31,000 acres of remote peat marsh. Tom Mather with the state Division of Air Quality says the blaze is only 60 percent contained.
"If a fire gets started in that peat, it's almost like burning coal, and that peat will keep burning until you get a good, soaking rain."
Mather says sensitive groups like children and older adults should limit their outdoor activities if they can see and smell heavy smoke. New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, and Onslow counties have been labeled as severe drought areas, with no rain in the forecast in the next few days.