A wildfire in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge has crossed from Virginia into North Carolina. This as smoke from the fire has drifted south to New Bern.
Refuge officials say lightning started the fire, which was reported Aug. 4. Fueled by dry conditions and winds, it has grown to 5,700 acres and is just 10% contained.
Spokeswoman Barb Stewart says the fire is the biggest in recent history in the swamp, exceeding the 2008 fire that burned nearly 4,900 acres. She says the fire is still growing and is likely to burn for weeks. No homes or other structures are in danger.
Stewart says nearly 160 firefighters from across the nation are battling the blaze. Along with dumping water on the fire, they're creating what they call a "fuel break" around the perimeter by clearing burnable material to stop the spread of the fire.
State air pollution experts say on Friday smoke from the fire is expected to push south and southwest.
Residents from Warrenton to Roanoke Rapids and other communities near the Virginia-North Carolina state line could experience unhealthy air quality.
The forecast for Friday shows Code Red conditions for Camden, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties. Code Orange, or air that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, is possible in those areas as well as Bertie, Chowan, Halifax Pasquotank, Perquimans and Warren counties.
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