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STUMPY POINT, NC (AP) — A wildfire in eastern North Carolina is continuing to grow even as emergency crews work to contain the blaze.

State and federal officials reported Thursday the fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife refuge had grown to more than 22,000 acres. A 10-mile stretch of US 264 remains closed as nearly 200 firefighters and other responders work to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters say the blaze is about 55 percent contained.

The fire began a week ago. Its cause is still under investigation.

The smoke from the wildfire prompted officials to warn people from the coast to the Raleigh-Durham area about polluted air conditions. The advisory remained in effect Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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