CASTLE HAYNE -- Sunday's rain was a relief to wildfires burning in several counties. While the rain helps, it won't completely put out the hot spots that are still burning. The wet weather slowed Forest Service crews in New Hanover County that have been working to put out a woods fire that broke out Wednesday. That fire burned nearly 1,200 acres of land. Despite some flaming and smoldering areas, the fire is completely contained. Drought conditions aren't helping the situation and crews will be working for the next few days. North Carolina Forest Service spokesperson Tom James said, "Areas where there are ground fire, we've got to really saturate the ground with water because the soil is so organic here that it will burn underground and continue to smolder for sometime." There is still a statewide burn ban in effect, which prohibits controlled burns within 100 feet of a house. The North Carolina Forest Service reports an average of about 26,000 acres burned each year. So far, there are have already been more than 19,000 acres burned throughout the state.
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