[UPDATE] 6-19-11 4:00 PM --
WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) -- Rain this weekend has helped knock back the
massive fires burning around the Okefenokee Swamp.
Georgia Forestry Commission Eric Mosley told the Florida
Times-Union that as much as an inch of rain fell into early
Saturday on one fire west of Waycross and a separate blaze near the
juncture of Ware, Brantley and Charlton counties.
Although the storms brought lightning, Mosley said there was
enough new rain to put out any new fires caused by lightning
The fires fueled by drought and wind have burned about 250,000
acres near the swamp and forced roughly 100 people to leave their
homes at times.
Residents in parts of Southern Georgia are packing up and getting out, ahead of wildfires that are spreading across the region. Smoke filled skies blanket Waycross, GA. As fire grows to more than 2,000 acres. According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, Southern winds shifted, pushing flames back toward town causing a flare up.
Life-long Waycross resident, Lisa Wilson says she's never been this close to the line of danger, estimating it's less than five miles away from her home. She said she's "very concerned, especially the wind change. If the wind hadn't have changed, I think we would've been alright." With fire spread sporadically across the state, law enforcement is blocking several major roads, including state road 122 to allow fire rescue crews get through as easy as possible.
Sparked near the site where a firestorm centered in 2007, the forestry commission is calling it this the "sweat farm again fire." Noting flames are gaining ground toward homes but not asking for folks to evacuate just yet. Eric Mosley with the Georgia Forestry Commission said "With as many fires that are around, there is the potential that homes could be threatened and people should definitely be prepared for the potential." Drought conditions this year have left the forests in Southeast Georgia dryer than usual.
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