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Firefighters challenged by Pender County blaze

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The Pender County wildfire is still getting the better of firefighters. The state forestry department has been strategizing tonight about how best to attack the fire now. State officials say this is the biggest fire they've been asked to help fight in the area for more than ten years. The state is developing a plan of attack. One challenge: equipment has gotten stuck in the muck. Firefighters are directing their attention to getting firefighting equipment back up in operation and continuing to battle the blaze. "We do have equipment that would be the right flank of the fire that is now down in to the fuel types out there that have gotten down in to the wet areas of the perimeter," Bob Houseman, the Regional Forester said, "It's been very difficult to get this equipment back up out of what we call a stuck position." The Division of Forestry says its objective is to get firefighting equipment unstuck, then regroup and contain the fire. The reason the equipment is getting stuck is because the soil is wet, and fires can burn underground causing tractors to sink. Six tractors were stuck overnight Wednesday and at least six operators chose to stay with their tractors to try and get them out. Just hours ago, almost twenty four hours later, the machinery finally made it out of the mire. "The tractors themselves became stuck, none of our personnel were stuck and those personnel have withdrawn from the area. everyone is safe, they weren't in any danger," Tom James, Division of Forestry spokesperson said. The Division of Forestry says this fire is a challenge. It's complex, and in a heavily-wooded area. While it continues to burn, so far, no residences have been at risk. One firefighter was injured while fighting the fire. The Division of Forestry says he's already been treated and released from the hospital. Fire crews will be back on the scene at first light to continue their efforts to secure the perimeter.

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