West Mims Fire continues to grow

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 11, 2017

Georgia Forestry Commission

ST. GEORGE, Ga. (WCTV) -- The West Mims Fire burning in South Georgia is currently 144,073 acres and is 12% contained.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge reports that 711 personnel are assigned to the incident.

Officials say that the fire increased in size on Wednesday by several hundred acres.

As of Thursday, evacuations and road closures include:

• Charlton County Emergency Management Agency: Residents with a St. George address are under an evacuation order, which also includes Canaday Loop and Moniac residents. A shelter is open at the Camden County Recreation Center, 1050 Wildcat Drive in Kingsland. Phone 912-729-5600.
• Hwy 121 is closed from Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge south to the intersection of Hwy 94.
• Hwy 94 is closed from Hwy 121 to Hwy 185.
• Hwy 177 is closed 11 miles north of the intersection with GA 94 at the entrance to Stephen C. Foster State Park.
• Roads may be temporarily closed, as needed, due to smoke, fire, or equipment movement.

The wildfire was sparked by lightning on April 6.

For the latest numbers on the West Mims Fire, and to view an interactive map, click here.

By: Associated Press
May 9, 2017

ST. GEORGE, Ga. (AP) -- 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.

The fire has blackened more than 210 square miles of swampland. It's near two small communities in southeast Georgia but many residents stayed put as of Monday, despite an evacuation order.

Tom Stokesberry, a spokesman for the command team fighting the wildfire, says hot and dry weather conditions expected Tuesday will be ideal for its continued growth.

Hundreds of firefighters are trying to contain the blaze, which burned for a month mostly inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife refuge. Last weekend, the fire escaped the refuge boundary.

By: Associated Press
May 8, 2017

FOLKSTON, Ga. (AP) -- A mandatory evacuation has broadened as a wildfire near the Georgia-Florida line threatens small communities on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge supervisory ranger Susan Heisey said Monday that Moniac and Canaday Loop are ordered to evacuate. She says the fire has crossed state Highway 94 south of the refuge. She doesn't know how many have evacuated the area.

The unincorporated community of St. George already was under a mandatory evacuation order and Charlton County schools closed Monday.

The fire was started by a lightning strike April 6 and has burned 129,856 acres (52,550 hectares). Wind gusts and dry conditions are raising the risk of it spreading.

Television stations in northeast Florida report smoke can be seen across Nassau, Clay and Duval counties. Officials urge residents to stay indoors.

By: Associated Press
May 7, 2017

FOLKSTON, Ga. (AP) -- Seventy-nine people in St. George in Georgia's southernmost county have been evacuated after a wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp began encroaching onto private property.

West Mims Public Information Officer Michael Davis told The Associated Press on Saturday evening that firefighters will be battling the blaze, on the Georgia-Florida line, through the night. Davis says that there are 60 bulldozers, eight helicopters and three heavy air tankers on the scene to help fight the fire in the tiny, rural town.

The wildfire started by lightning on April 6 and has since burned more than 150 square miles (389 sq. kilometers) on public lands.

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