South Georgia Wildfire Could Burn For Months, Officials Say

A wildfire was sparked by lightning on April 6, and is burning on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent public lands.
Credit / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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A wildfire that’s been burning for weeks in South Georgia might not be contained for months, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which is coordinating firefighting efforts.

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At least 31 square miles have burned near the Georgia-Florida line and the blaze keeps growing. South Georgia residents on the western edge of the Okefenokee Swamp were warned to prepare for potential evacuations.

Sparked by lightning April 6 in the Okefenokee National Wildlife refuge, which spreads out over Charlton, Ware, and Clinch counties in Georgia Baker County in Florida, the fire more than doubled in size over the weekend on nearby public land as strong winds fanned the blaze. It covered  21,790 acres and was 3 percent contained as of Wednesday.

Total containment might not be achieved until mid-June, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

A Georgia Forestry Commission team is assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Forest Service, and U.S. Forest Service in managing containment. 

Clinch County emergency management director Will Joyce said some residents of Fargo, a city of about 320 people, were urged over the weekend to pack bags just in case evacuations are ordered.

Leland Bass of the Georgia Forestry Commission said the fire Monday was burning roughly 7 miles outside of Fargo.