WEATHER

Great Dismal Swamp fire drenched by Irene, but it's not out

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SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - Hurricane Irene provided some much-needed rain to help drench a fire that has been burning in the Great Dismal Swamp.

John Bearer (BARE), a fire information officer, said the storm dumped 10 to 15 inches of rain on the fire, which has burned more than 6,000 acres in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina and has sent thick plumes of smoke throughout much of the region and beyond.

Bearer told The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/qrql8T ) that officials conducting a flyover Sunday spotted at least 30 areas where smoke is still billowing. Bearer said that the question now is whether the rain soaked deep enough to extinguish the fire, which has been burning 4 feet to 5 feet deep in the peat since Aug. 4.

The fire was considered 35 percent contained Friday before the storm.

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