Fire in eastern NC grows to 21,000 acres

NEW BERN, NC (AP) The fire in the Croatan National Forest in eastern North Carolina has grown to more than 21,000 acres.

About 100 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service are at the scene.

Crews were able to get a containment line around the fire late Tuesday but the fire is only about 20% controlled. Helicopters are pouring water on the flames while tractor plows are working on fire breaks.

Because of smoke and ash from the fire, air quality advisories have been issued for 12 counties in eastern North Carolina.

The fire began as a controlled burn in the 160,000-acre forest last week. On Saturday, about 220 acres had been burned. Controlled burns are used to burn fuel and small shrubs on forest floors so they don't feed larger fires later.

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