Georgia Wildfire Reaches 100,000 Acres

Lightning strikes from weekend thunderstorms started three new fires in the swamp.


WAYCROSS, Ga. --

Officials say a wildfire that has scorched southeast Georgia forest and swampland for three weeks has surpassed 100,000 acres -- or 156 square miles.

Firefighters got a chance to fortify fire breaks at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp Monday because sustained winds of 20 miles per hour from the northeast pushed the fire deeper into the swamp.

The fire breaks are needed to keep flames from spreading to nearby communities in Ware and Charlton counties.

Lightning strikes from weekend thunderstorms started three new fires in the swamp, but the storms failed to bring rain to ease the extreme drought conditions.

David Spear, a spokesman for the firefighters' joint information center, said the fires caused by lightning were near the center of the Okefenokee and posed no immediate threat to people living outside the swamp.

A separate wildfire burning in a peat bog in neighboring Atkinson County has burned 5,800 acres. Spear says that fire was 80 percent contained Monday.


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