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Parts of Okefenokee to open on Friday

Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo will reopen on Friday just in time for the busy Memorial Day holiday.

Officials decided Thursday morning that parts of the massive Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge would be open largely because recent rains and firefighting efforts have helped contain a wildfire.

The wildfire, called the West Mims wildfire,  is 60 percent contained.

Stephen C. Foster State Park is located at the west entrance to the refuge.

Also opening is the Suwannee River Sill and the Pocket of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge has been close since mid April as a safety precaution.

Related:

Okefenokee swamp fire now 60 percent contained

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 No park structures have been damaged.

Cabins and campsites can be reserved, however very low water levels mean that boating is not currently available. Also boardwalks and trails remain closed because of the presence of fire suppression equipment spread across the trails.

Visitors are still urged to practice extreme caution in the area because safety and firefights are still working to contain the rest of the wildfire.

People who want to have a picnic can do so, but officials have banned all campfires and charcoal grills until further notice. 

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The fire has destroyed thousands of acres in and around the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge near the Georgia-Florida border. (www.accessatlanta.com)

Cabin and camping reservations may be made online of by calling 1-800-864-7275.

The main entrance near Folkston will remained closed.

“The fire is still out there,” said Susan Heisey, supervisory refuge ranger. She said there was no timetable for when the wildfire would be fully contained. “We’ll open as soon as it’s safe for visitors to access the area.”

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