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SUFFOLK -- Thursday will be the last day of battling the wildfire at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge until Hurricane Irene passes.

As the storm passes, a skeleton crew will remain in place to monitor the fire.

Firefighters will focus on flooding the fire area, knocking down trees near ditches and roads, and putting out roadside smoldering with the potential to burn through road beds.

Helicopters also will drop water on hot spots along the line south of Corapeake Ditch.

'Today is a water pumping day,' said Operations Section Chief Pete Myers.

On Friday, firefighters will be moving equipment into areas to avoid falling trees.

After the hurricane, firefighters will resume the effort to flood the fire area completely. They hope rain from Hurricane Irene will help put out the fire.

The wildfire has been burning in early August, started by a lightning strike.

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