Fire forces evacuations in southern Georgia

The entire town of St. George in Georgia’s southernmost county is now under a mandatory evacuation order issued after a wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp began encroaching onto private property.

The unincorporated community has about 2,000 people. Saturday’s evacuation initially included a sparsely populated rural area of Charleton County from Jim Crawford Loop road south to St. George on the west side of Highway 121.

The area, on the Georgia-Florida line, is also under a dense smoke advisory that extends to northern Duval County near the Jacksonville International airport.

A temporary shelter has been opened in the gymnasium at the Folkston Elementary School.

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