Wildfires rage near Georgia border as Florida issues state of emergency

Wildfires rage near Georgia border as Florida issues state of emergency

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Wildfire caused the West Mims Fire in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to close Saturday. (Credit: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge)

A state of emergency is in effect in Florida as wildfires rage across parts of the state and in South Georgia, officials said.

More than 100 fires in Florida have charred almost 6,000 acres and forced thousands of people from their homes, Channel 2 Action News reported.

In Georgia, the West Mims Fire in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge covered 28,654 acres and was 4 percent contained on Sunday, officials said.

The fire started in Folkston on April 6 after lightning struck near the Eddy Fire Tower in the refuge, officials said in a news release.

Stephen C. Foster State Park in Charlton County has been closed, officials said on Saturday. 

Also, a temporary flight restriction that includes drones is in place for a 10-mile radius around the fire origin. A burn ban is in effect in the refuge.

More than 400 crews were battling the blaze on Sunday, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the agency that is coordinating efforts to battle the blaze.

To put the size of the fire in perspective, the blaze covers about 41.2 square miles, roughly the same area as the city of Roswell.

High temperatures and dry conditions are expected to affect the fire, but afternoon thunderstorms might provide relief.

Fire growth is expected to occur toward Strange Island and across Blackjack Island, moving the fire deeper into the interior of the swamp. 

The plan for Sunday is to continue to improve containment lines and mop up on the western fire perimeter, the agency said. 

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Battalion Chief Darrell Mason: Atlanta firefighters battled large abandoned apartment fire on Chappell Rd NW Video by John Spink/AJC www.accessatlanta.com

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