DISASTERS

Fire forces evacuation in southern Georgia

A sparsely populated area of Georgia's southernmost county is under a mandatory evacuation after a wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp on the Georgia-Florida line began encroaching onto private property.

Charlton County officials say the evacuation order affects the area from Jim Crawford Loop road south to St. George on the west side of Highway 121.

County Administrator Shawn Boatright describes the area as "very rural" but noted there are some homes that could be affected. He couldn't immediately say how many residents might be affected but says a temporary shelter has been opened in the gymnasium at the Folkston Elementary School. He says it will stay open indefinitely.

The wildfire started by lightning April 6 and has since burned more than 150 square miles (389 sq. kilometers) on public lands.