COLUMBIA, NC -- Officials say they need fewer people to fight the wildfire that has burned more than 40,000 acres in and around an eastern North Carolina wildlife refuge. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported Thursday that 217 people are assigned to the fire. There had been about 250 last week. Fire management spokesman Roger Miller says the fire is about 80 percent contained and there hasn't been surface burning for several days. The fire, however, still is burning below the surface in organic soil. The fire started June 1 with a lightning strike on private land near Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, about 50 miles west of the Outer Banks. At its height, smoke was detected as far away as Norfolk and Richmond, Va. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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