Rain Weakens Fire Which Ravaged the Okefenokee Swamp
RAIN WORKS TO DAMPEN GIANT SWAMP FIRE
The giant wildfire near the Georgia-Florida state line has sputtered and stalled for days after modest rainfall slowed the once-raging blaze, giving firefighters their best chance yet to stop the flames from advancing near the southern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.
The multi-agency team fighting the fire says, the total burned area stood at 238 square miles a figure that had barely budged since Sunday. That’s after 2.5 inches of rainfall hit the fire last weekend, slowing its burn rate to a crawl, at least temporarily.
The fire was considered 60 percent contained Friday evening, according to a news release from the firefighting team, compared with just 17 percent last Sunday.
Heisey said the containment was greatest along the fire’s southern perimeter, where fighters had focused their efforts to spare small communities near the swamp’s edge.
A lightning strike sparked the fire April 6 inside the Okefenokee refuge, where drought conditions and gusty winds caused the flames to spread rapidly. While more than three-fourths of the charred acreage is undeveloped public land, flames escaped the southeast corner of the swamp May 6 and raged toward the small Georgia communities of St. George and Moniac. Emergency officials ordered more than 2,000 residents to evacuate.