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600-plus acre blaze burns in Pender County

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PENDER COUNTY -- Another blaze continues to burn in Pender County. This fire broke out late Wednesday afternoon, scorching hundreds of acres. It's more than 600 acres and counting. The Forest Service says crews are making slow progress because of weather conditions and don't know when it'll be out. Forest Service Ranger Dalton Cox said, "We've been in and out of here all fire season." And they're at it again. Crews continue to work on putting out a brush fire burning in Pender County, at the Hampstead-Topsail border. Cox said, "We're securing some lines that we put in last night, beefing them up and we're going to try and tie this side of the fire up." The Forest Service, along with county Emergency Management and several fire departments, have been working to put out this 600-plus acre blaze. Officials say the wind has made it more difficult to get the flames under control and from determining just how much damage has been done. Forest Service Spokesperson Teresa Odom said, "Trying to get an accurate acreage last night was pretty hard with all of the smoke that was laid into the area." Cox said, "They're hot, smoky, dusty, real wet, it's boggy and it's real easy to get your tractor stuck." Because of the soggy soil the Forest Service says it's also had a hard time reaching certain areas. Equipment is getting stuck in the mud while trying to lay down containment lines. Extra manpower and equipment has been brought in from other counties to help. At this point the Forest Service says no homes have been evacuated or damaged. One person, a firefighter, has been hurt. He has since been treated and released. Investigators say they're still looking into the cause of the fire.

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