Firefighters Contain 70 Percent of Georgia Wildfire

Firefighters have managed to contain about 70 percent of the largest wildfire in Georgia history, which had charred 100 square miles of forest and swampland, officials said Sunday.

A few families remained evacuated from their homes on the opposite side of U.S. Highway 1 from the main blaze, in an area where smaller spot fires started during the weekend, said Georgia Forestry Commission spokeswoman Susan Reisch.

Firefighters patrolled a 16-mile stretch of the highway, which remained closed, and the main body of the wildfire had not spread east across the highway into miles of tinder-dry forest.

Wind gusting to 15 mph and extreme drought conditions with no rain in the forecast mean the fire will continue to rage for at least another week, Reisch said.

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The blaze started April 16 near the Okefenokee Swamp, west of U.S. 1, which connects Waycross to Jacksonville, Fla.

Two other wildfires that broke out early Sunday in counties near the main fire — one in Charlton County and one on the line of Brantley and Glynn counties — were not connected with the wildfire near Waycross, Reisch said.

Firefighters were working to contain them as well and at least nine families were evacuated from Charlton County, said Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokesman Buzz Weiss.

Elsewhere, a fire that broke out late Saturday in an Atkinson County peat bog about 30 miles west of Waycross had grown to 3,000 acres, Weiss said.

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