Plumes of smoke are visible above the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge from the West Mims Fire. (Credit: National Wildfire Coordinating Group/

South Georgia wildfire close to 100,000 acres

The wildfire that started in southeast Georgia earlier this month has burned almost one-fourth of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, officials said Saturday.

Known as the West Mims Fire, the blaze now has torched 94,664 acres and is just 8 percent contained, according to a statement from the team that is battling the blaze.

Waycross will be impacted by smoke throughout the day, officials said. “Smoke could travel as far north as Hazlehurst,” according to the statement. Individuals sensitive to smoke were encouraged to avoid lengthy or heavy exertion outdoors.

Hazlehurst is about 88 miles north of the wildlife refuge headquarters in Folkston.

Officials estimate a Nov. 1 containment date for the fire. The containment team consists of 488 people, and their equipment includes six helicopters, 56 fire engines and 35 tractor plows.

Record-setting temperatures in the mid-90s are expected Saturday, officials said. This could dry out vegetation even more and make it even more susceptible to fire.

The Georgia Forestry Commission is managing the containment team, with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Forest Service and athe U.S. Forest Service.

In other news:

Police are looking for a group of people suspected of targeting Kroger gas stations and getting away with $90,000 worth of fuel.

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