Wildfire destroys southeast Georgia
UPDATE: The fire continues to blaze, and there is still little being said or done about it outside the area itself. The AP reports:
Fatigue is becoming a problem for residents and firefighters as the wildfires in southeast Georgia continue to burn.Wildfires
that have scorched 95 square miles of drought-stricken forest and
swampland in southeast Georgia are fraying the nerves of homeowners
near its path and testing the mettle of nearly 700 firefighters who
have protected them since the blaze ignited April 16.More than 100 homes near the Okefenokee Swamp are under evacuation orders today.
This fire--reportedly started by a downed power line--has gotten surprisingly little attention in national media so far, but it's destroyed several homes, forced evacuations and razed 86 square miles(about 220 square km) of forest. Smoke alone has caused the closure of most area schools and many businesses, and has been carried nearly 350 miles (560 km) on high winds. As someone originally from a wildfire-prone part of the world (British Columbia's tinder-dry interior), I can vouch for the scary uncertainty of driving a highway in thick smoke, or having to have a bag packed in case you have to evacuate your home.
It was about 10 miles southwest of Waycross and about five miles south of Manor, where firefighters were using bulldozers to broaden fire breaks from 6 feet wide to 20 feet.
Eighteen homes have been destroyed, officials said.
No more evacuations had been ordered since about 1,000 people near Waycross were forced to flee their homes last week. Authorities urged about 5,000 others to evacuate voluntarily because of possible health risks from smoke inhalation.
Ware County schools remained closed Monday because of concern about smoke reducing visibility on roads used by school buses. The schools have been closed since last Tuesday.