Hurricane Irene may have wreaked havoc up and down the Eastern Seaboard, but it also might have had at least one beneficial effect.
The torrential rains produced by the hurricane have helped to douse a massive wildfire that's been raging for the past month in the Great Dismal Swamp, a huge wildlife refuge in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
Irene dumped between ten and fifteen inches of rain onto the fire, which has already burned about 6,000 acres of the refuge. The rain wasn't enough to completely extinguish the fire, although it's provided firefighters some help getting the inferno under control, local reports said.
The refuge comprises a total of about 112,000 acres of forested wetlands and includes Lake Drummond, the largest natural lake in Virginia.
Fire officials on Sunday counted at least 30 areas where smoke is still billowing into the air, but no new flames were seen.
The Virginian-Pilot said 35 percent of the fire had been contained on Friday, just before the storm arrived.
Local firefighters are expected to resume their battle against the fire on Monday.