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NC wildfire has now burned 70 square miles

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MANTEO, NC (AP) -- Officials say a fire that has been burning near the North Carolina coast for more than a month has now consumed 70 square miles.

Dare County officials say that containment lines have held for the last week.

The fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County was started by a lightning strike May 5.

The fire is about 75 percent contained. Some of the peat soil itself is on fire. Officials warn there are several areas of intense ground fire that could cause flare ups and spot fires in the area.

Smoke is continuing to cause problems for motorists on US Highway 264.

Officials say about 250 firefighters are working on the fire.

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

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