Forestry official: Okefenokee fire could burn six more months

Courtesy: Clinch County Emergency Management

Savannah (AP) – Officials say a wildfire that has scorched 76 square miles (197 sq. kilometers) near the Georgia-Florida state line may keep burning for the next six months.

The fire sparked by lightning April 6 inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge grew by 76 percent over the weekend as winds pushed flames deeper into areas of the swamp parched by drought. Susan Granbery of the Georgia Forestry Commission said Monday there was no immediate threat to communities outside the vast refuge.

More than 430 firefighters and support personnel are working to contain the fire inside the Okefenokee refuge. Granbery said only a big rainstorm will be able to extinguish the blaze, and forecasters predict that may not happen until November.

A 2011 wildfire inside the refuge burned for a full year.

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