Large Brush Fires Threaten Georgia Homes

Firefighters in Southeast Georgia continued through 10 p.m., April 16, battling two large brush fires.


Firefighters in Southeast Georgia continued through the 10 p.m. hour, battling two large brush fires.

According to authorities, evacuations are continuing to be ordered as the result of the fast-moving fires. Sheriff's department officials said several neighborhoods are in danger.

Authorities reported that all of the area's firefighting divisions were called to battle the brush fires alongside the Georgia Department of Forestry.

Helicopters have also been involved in the firefighting efforts.

At about 6 p.m. one of the two fires was threatening downtown Nahunta, according to area journalist Bobby Thomas.

He reported that residents who live in the area were seen preparing to evacuate and get out of the fire's path, and that smoke from the flames greatly limited visibility in several places on Highway 301.

Mandatory evacuations in Ware County were ordered for people in the area from Valdosta Highway south to Swamp Road and for those who live between Suwannee Chapel Road in Manor, Ga., and the city limits of Waycross.

"Everyone from U.S. Highway 84 -- we call it the Valdosta Highway -- between there and Swamp Road and also between the city limits of Waycross and Suwannee Chapel Road in Manor, Ga. Everyone in that area needs to evacuate, if they have not already," Ware County spokesman James Ginn said at 10 p.m. "Anyone in the surrounding areas should keep a diligent eye on the conditions because we may have to evacuate them as well."

The shelter for Ware County evacuees is Waycross Middle School.

Channel 4's Scott Johnson reported that officials were expecting the wind to die down in the area at about midnight, which would be helpful for firefighters.

Nonetheless, the Ware County Board of Education announced Monday night that it has canceled school on Tuesday for all students. However, teachers and staff should report to their schools.

Ruskin Elementary School teachers and staff are asked to report to Waycross Middle School.

A mandatory evacuation was also ordered for those along a 4-mile stretch of Knox Street northwest of Nahunta, Ga.

The fire in Brantley County burned between 1,600 to 2,000 acres land. Fortunately, officials there told Channel 4 most of the fire was under control as of 10 p.m., and that they were considering lifting the evacuation and allowing people to return to their homes.

The shelter for Brantley County evacuees is at Nahunta Elementary School.