Croatan wildfire now 80 percent under control

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NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — Firefighters in eastern North Carolina are closer to getting a wildfire in the Croatan National Forest under control.

Authorities said Monday morning the fire that has been burning for more than a week is now 80 percent under control after burning more than 21,000 acres near New Bern.

Crews are currently trying to keep ground fires along the perimeter of the blaze from spreading. The soil in the area is made from organic materials that catches fire easily and burns a long time. Firefighters have pumped more than 22 million gallons of water into canals to try to stop the ground fire.

Environmental officials say the fire is no longer causing elevated levels of air pollution in the region.

The fire started as a controlled burn.

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