Two Georgia Wildfires Merge into 1 Massive Blaze


Officials say two large forest fires that started in southeast Georgia have merged in the Okefenokee Swamp -- creating one tremendous wildfire.

Fire has blackened more than 473,000 acres of forest and swampland in drought-stricken Georgia and north Florida. Commercial timber losses are estimated at well over $30 million.

One fire, known as the Sweat Farm Road Fire, started April 16 when a tree fell onto a power line near Waycross. The second blaze, called the Bugaboo Fire, started by lightning in the Okefenokee on May 5 and rapidly spread into Florida.

Tuesday, a task force monitoring the blazes for the two states said the fires in Georgia have burned more than 350,000 acres, and nearly 123,000 acres in Florida.

For the second time in a week, southeast winds brought smoke from the fires near the Georgia-Florida line into north Georgia yesterday.

Forecasters said wind swinging to the east later in the day should bring fresher air from the Atlantic and the Carolinas, and that a front moving through the area today also should bring some relief.