$18 Million Estimated as Cost of Fighting Vast Ga. Wildfire

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) - Georgia officials estimate it will cost 18 million dollars to fight wildfires that have burned more than 135 square miles of forest and swampland in southeast Georgia.

Governor Perdue promised today to continue seeking federal disaster money to help offset the cost.

After an update on the fires in Waycross, Perdue told reporters he's not sure yet how much of the cost will go to the state versus local governments in the affected areas.

The largest wildfire ever recorded in Georgia has scorched 87-thousand acres of drought-stricken forest and Okefenokee Swamp
land since it ignited when a fallen tree struck live power lines April 16th.

The fire has destroyed 21 homes, but there have been no deaths or serious injuries. Several smaller fires have broken out close to the large blaze.

Perdue has already secured some disaster relief funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offset the cost of battling the largest fire in Ware County. More than 800 firefighters from across Georgia and neighboring states have been working to contain for more than two weeks. FEMA will also help pay for fighting a 13-hundred-acre fire in neighboring Brantley County.

In nearby Atkinson County, schools were closed Tuesday and about eight homes had to be evacuated as a smaller wildfire grew to 42-hundred acres. It is burning in a peat bog about 20 miles west of the main Ware County blaze.

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


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