Heavy Rain Helps Control Georgia Wildfires


Tropical Storm Barry gave a much-needed soaking to thousands of acres of burning swamp and timberland in northern Florida and southeastern Georgia Saturday, allowing firefighters to relax a little and focus Monday on hot spots missed by the rain.

Larry Morris with the joint information center in Waycross says that though the rainfall -- as much as six inches in some spots -- was a tremendous help, residents living near the fires are not out of the woods.

Morris estimates that the fire, which fire crews have battled for more than a month, is now about 85 percent contained. Georgia residents near Folkston and Kingsland should be reminded of the blaze on Monday, when smoke is expected to return to the area as the winds shift.

Barry, which weakened to a depression yesterday morning, left between three and six inches of rain across the fires in Ware, Charlton and Clinch counties in Georgia and Baker and Columbia counties in northern Florida.

The rain was not enough to put out the blazes, but officials said the moist conditions allow firefighters to focus on hot spots spared by the rain and areas that are already beginning to dry out and could potentially catch fire again.