Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Fire continues to scorch Georgia wildlife refuge; residents evacuated

Fire continues to scorch Georgia wildlife refuge; residents evacuated

Officials say a huge wildfire threatening homes near the Georgia-Florida state line is expected to keep growing after recently escaping the boundaries of the vast Okefenokee Swamp.

Fire information officer Joe Zwierzchowski said the fire was at least two miles west of St. George, advancing steadily south toward Georgia 94, which already was closed west to the state line.

The evacuation order covered the entirety of St. George, Ga., an unincorporated community of about 2,000 people.

The fire has burned roughly 220 square miles (570 square kilometers) since a lightning strike ignited the blaze April 6 inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

"What I'm expecting to run into is a lot of wild land fire", said Firefighter Dale Parker.

Shifting winds blew the fire to the north overnight and more growth could happen today as winds shift again to the west.

Charlton County Schools announced Sunday that public schools would be closed on Monday due to the advancing fire and the temporary shelter had been moved from a Folkston school to the Camden rec center. The wildfire is only about 12 percent contained.

An evacuation order is in place for those who live in St. George, Canaday Loop and Moniac and anyone located in the southern half of Charlton County, including the Georgia Bend.

A total of 129,856 acres (52,550 hectares) has been burned since the fire was reported April 6.

Sainsbury's warns of cost pressures as profits dip to £503m
Mr Coupe said it had been a "pivotal year" for the group after the £1.4bn takeover of Argos, which contributed £77m to profits. According to Coupe, "We have opened 59 Argos Digital stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets and they are performing well".

The air smelled like a campfire Monday outside Mason Pair's home in St. George as he pointed to large flakes of ash in his front yard.

"There's so much heat, the fire gets going early in the morning", she said.

"We don't know how long this will go on", said Susan Heisey, supervisory ranger for the Okefenokee refuge and a fire spokeswoman.

The wildfire was sparked by lightning April 6 and has since burned nearly entirely within the Okefenokee refuge boundaries - and some public forest land in north Florida - for the past month.

Charlton County schools have been closed for Monday. They do this to promote a healthy vegetation cycle in the area, but also to prevent wildfires.

As the week opened, more than 600 firefighters and support personnel were fighting the fire.

And residents in Nassau County, Florida, have been warned that they too might need to leave their homes.

"My plan is (stay) here until they tell us it is so close we have to leave.

We were anxious then about evacuating", Bulgar said.

Like this: