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Wildfire on Florida/Georgia border worsens, evacuations ordered

17 Mai 2017

As the week opened, more than 600 firefighters and support personnel were fighting the fire.

Heisey said there was no way to know how long the evacuation order would stand. Emergency officials in neighboring Nassau County, Florida, were urging some residents to prepare in case they need asked to evacuate.

The advisory said the Nassau County Fairgrounds, on US 1 in Callahan, would open late Tuesday for residents who need a place to move their livestock.

As a almost 150,000-acre wildfire torches areas in and around the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order Friday allowing logging trucks to move into the burned areas and take the logs.

Two small communities outside the swamp's southeast border remain under a mandatory evacuation.

Officials in Charlton County, Georgia, have issued a mandatory evacuation for residents near the southeastern edge of the swamp.

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"If we get different winds, the fire could again move very quickly", said Michael Lusk, Refuge Manager for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

A high pressure system will settle farther south of the fire zone bringing a prevailing light westerly air flow through the early afternoon with wind speeds generally 5-8 miles per hour with gusts up to 15 miles per hour. She said milder than expected fire growth Tuesday gave firefighters extra time to try to box in the fire.

No injuries have been reported, according to InciWeb.

Fire officials said in a news release Wednesday the vast fire near the Georgia-Florida state line has charred more than 220 square miles (570 sq. kilometers) since April 6. Eight helicopters, 73 fire engines, many other pieces of heavy equipment and a DC-10 fire tanker flying out of Chattanooga, Tenn., are attacking the flames, which officials said could burn for months.

Crews say their control efforts will be challenged over the next few days as they're doing all they can to try and protect nearby homes, but they are holding the fire in place for now. Those fires have burned 153,315 acres, or almost 240 square miles, which is more than the state usually sees in an entire year, the Associated Press said.

Wildfire on Florida/Georgia border worsens, evacuations ordered