Warnings of possible evacuations in US fire

2017-04-18 07:00


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Savannah - Georgia residents on the western edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in the US have been warned to prepare for potential evacuations from an approaching wildfire that has burned more than 80km2 of public lands nearby.

A lightning strike has been blamed for sparking the fire on April 6 inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near the Georgia-Florida state line.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Forestry Commission, Leland Bass, said on Monday that dry and windy weather caused the blaze to more than double in size.

The 184 firefighters assigned to the wildfire so far have managed to keep most of the blaze within the Okefenokee refuge and the neighbouring Osceola National Forest and John M Bethea State Forest in Florida.

Private land

But the fire's rapid weekend expansion brought it within about 11km of the tiny Georgia community of Fargo, on the Okefenokee's western boundary, Bass said.

Wildland firefighters with bulldozers have been clearing vegetation from fire breaks maintained around the Okefenokee refuge perimeter, which in places are 12m wide.

Bass said flames managed to cross one highway onto private land at the refuge's southwest corner over the weekend, but only a small area burned outside the refuge.

Read more on:    us  |  fires

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