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      Seney wildfire damage assessed

      Thousands of acres of green wildlife at the Seney Wildlife Refuge are now dead after a two week wildfire ripped through the landscape. The fire scorched 3,400 acres of land and the cost to fight it tallied over $600,000.

      "When we got to the fire Monday, it was already a quarter mile long, and we knew we had a fire that we were going to have problems containing. And we knew it was going to get size on it," said Seney Wildlife Refuge Fire Program Manager, Gary Lindsay.

      Most of the cost will go toward the aviation used to dump water on the flames.

      Another tool that was instrumental in combating the fire is the Marsh Master, a vehicle that can carry 110,000 gallons of water.

      "Mixing the Marsh Master with the aircraft, we were able to effectively herd the fire into a spot where it ceased burning," Lindsay said.

      The firefighters used natural barriers surrounding the fire--a ditch, roadways, and bodies of water--to help contain it.

      Refuge staff members say it won't be long until things turn green again.

      "It is the natural process which the vegetation and wildlife evolve with. And it's very important for some species to provide them the habitat and food sources they need."

      The refuge says they're keeping tabs on areas that are still smoldering. They do not expect the fire to start up again.