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Fire in Okefenokee NWR burns nearly 22,000 acres

 

By: Multi-agency press release
4/19/2017 11:25:40 AM

 

A fire started by lightning in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had burned 21,790 acres of forestland and was 3 percent contained as of April 19, according to information issued by state and federal agencies working to contain the fire.

According to a multi-agency press release, 330 personnel are assigned to this incident, designated as the West Mims fire. Equipment resources include 6 helicopters, 28 wildland fire engines, 5 bulldozers, 36 tractor plows and four fire and support crews.

The West Mims Fire was reported on April 6. It straddles the Georgia-Florida state line southeast of Fargo, Ga., approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Eddy Tower. The fire is currently located within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida's John M. Bethea State Forest, and Osceola National Forest. A Georgia Forestry Commission Incident Management Team is assisting in managing the fire with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Forest Service, and U.S. Forest Service.

Georgia Highway 94 and Florida Highway 2 from the agricultural check station at the GA/FL line to U.S. 441 in Fargo is open during the day with nightly closure from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. The road may be closed during the day due to smoke impacts and fire operations.

The overnight stops on the Wilderness Canoe Trail within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are closed. 

Day-use canoeists and guided boat tours will still be able to access the trails.  A burn ban is in place within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, including Stephen C. Foster State Park. The ban includes fires at designated campsites and charcoal grills.

Updates are available on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/okefenokeewildliferefuge/?ref=bookmarks

 

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