Firefighters Have Contained 70 Percent of Wildfire

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) - Officials said firefighters have managed to contain about 70 percent of the largest wildfire in Georgia history, which has consumed 82-thousand acres of Ware County forest and swampland in nearly two weeks.

Georgia Forestry Commission spokeswoman Susan Reisch said a few families remain evacuated across U-S Highway One from the main blaze, where smaller spot fires ignited this weekend. While firefighters continue to patrol the affected 16-mile stretch of highway that remains closed, the wildfire hasn't spread across it to miles of tinder-dry forest.

Buzz Weiss, spokesman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said officials are concerned that low humidity will create a dangerous situation tomorrow. He said schools in Ware County will open an hour later than usual and schools in Charlton County will be closed all day.

Reisch said strong winds gusting to 15 miles per hour and extreme drought conditions with no rain in the forecast mean the fire will continue to rage for at least another week.

Reisch said two more wildfires that broke out early this morning in counties near the main fire -- one in Charlton County near the line with Ware County and one on the line of Brantley and Glynn counties -- were not connected with the wildfire near Waycross.

Weiss said that a fire that broke out late yesterday in an Atkinson County peat bog about 30 miles west of Waycross grew to 35-hundred acres.

The fire began on April 16.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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