Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Damp Woods Stymie Fire Control; Firefighters to Try Again Today to Establish a Fire Break

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Damp Woods Stymie Fire Control; Firefighters to Try Again Today to Establish a Fire Break

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

Firefighters are increasing containment of the Race Pond fire that has threatened for days to jump into the Okefenokee Swamp, officials said.

At last estimate, the fire had burned about 7,855 acres, counting burnouts, and was 40 percent contained, said Don Ferguson, a fire information officer.

An attempt to ignite a "strategic firing operation'' to burn out fuels between the leading edge of the fire and Georgia 177 has been only partially effective, but firefighters were out after 5 p.m. Tuesday trying again, Ferguson said.

Georgia 177 is the two-lane road that runs north-south between U.S. 1 and Okefenokee Swamp Park.

A light rain a few days earlier had dampened the brush and low growth in the area just enough to make it difficult to ignite, said Mark Wiles, a Georgia Forestry Commission senior forester working at a joint information center.

As the weather stays hot and dry, the burn is getting more effective, Ferguson said, and firefighters expect by today to have the desired straight-edge fire break established along Georgia 177, he said.

Since the burnout was initiated Sunday, fire engines and firefighters have been stationed the length of the road to quickly douse any fires that crossed the road.

"We're really proud of that,'' Wiles said of the containment of what has been a stubborn blaze.

There are now four helicopters, 12 fire engines, 29 bulldozers and 107 personnel assigned to the fire.

As for the larger fire in the complex, the Honey Prairie fire in the southern half of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has now burned 152,995 acres and is 80 percent contained, the joint information center said.

It has three helicopters, 38 fire engines, 13 bulldozers and 291 personnel assigned.

The same group of thunderstorms Friday that made the burnout difficult are being blamed for a number of smaller fires in Glynn, Charlton and Camden counties.

Among them was a fire Monday in the Davis community west of Folkston on the edge of the swamp, one over the weekend at Dover Bluff in Camden County and one spotted about 1:30 p. …

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