State park closed as South Georgia wildfire grows

The growing wildfire in South Georgia has prompted officials to close a state park and put in flight restrictions over the area.

The West Mims Fire in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge now covers 26,417 acres, officials said in a statement Saturday morning. The blaze, which started with a lightning strike April 6, is 4 percent contained, and the estimated containment date has been pushed back to Nov. 1.

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

Temperatures could range into the 90s Saturday, officials said. Also, vegetation in the path of the fire is very prone to catch fire, which could lead to rapid changes in the direction of the blaze.

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No injuries have been reported, officials said. Officials planned a public meeting on the fire Saturday at the Charlton County annex auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

More than 400 people are battling the blaze, including crews from the Georgia Forestry Commission.

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.

The closure of part of the interstate has drivers crowding cut-throughs around town.

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