Georgia Governor Seeks Federal Help

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Gov. Perdue says he will continue seeking federal money to offset an estimated $18 million cost of fighting wildfires that have burned more than 135 square miles of forest and swampland in southeast Georgia.

Perdue took an aerial tour of the fire zone yesterday. He told reporters he's not sure yet how much of the cost will go to the state and local governments in the affected areas.

The largest wildfire ever recorded in Georgia has scorched 87,000 acres of drought-stricken forest and Okefenokee Swamp land since April 16. It has destroyed 21 homes, and several smaller fires have broken out close to the large blaze.

Perdue already has secured some disaster relief funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 800 firefighters from across Georgia and neighboring states have been working to contain the giant fire in Ware County for more than two weeks. FEMA will also help pay for fighting a 1,300 acre fire in neighboring Brantley County.

In nearby Atkinson County east of Ware County schools were closed yesterday and eight homes evacuated as a smaller wildfire grew to 4,200 acres. It is burning in a peat bog about 20 miles west of the main Ware County blaze.

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