Rangers and firefighters battle Clinch Co. wildfire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rangers and firefighters battle Clinch Co. wildfire

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

CLINCH COUNTY, GA (WALB) -  Firefighters from across South Georgia are in Clinch County battling the flared- up Arabia Bay Swamp fire.

The fire was thought to have been extinguished in January, but when high winds whipped up Thursday, the fire took off and jumped highways and threatened homes.

This video of the wildfire after it jumped across Highway 441 Friday. The winds were tornado-like. You could see the embers falling and hear the fire crackling. About 60 people evacuated their homes Thursday night including Jim Vickers. He left after seeing the woods across from his house engulfed in flames.

"We left in a hurry," said Vickers. "We grabbed what we'd like to keep for the rest of our lives and got out."

Vickers and others have been soaking their property with water to protect it. He's thankful when he returned home this morning, the house wasn't damaged.

"I'm thankful this house is still standing here," said Vickers.

Herbert Tomlinson was trying to figure out how to get to house on 122. He was stuck on highway 441 after smoke blanketed that highway.

"I'm trying my best to get to my house on 122 but there no way to do it," said Tomlinson. "The fire is so bad now. The best thing to do is to turn around and get out of here."

And Kendra Davis says the smoke was thick on her commute to Homerville from Lakeland.

"I could barely see the cars in front of me," said Davis.

 It's destroyed more than 8,700 acres. Firefighters worked to protect structures while rangers plowed brakes. Helicopters dumped water.

"Everybody's praying for rain because that's what it's going to take," said Tomlinson.

The fire has a mind of it's own and neighbors are continuing to pray for rain.

A Georgia Forestry Commission firefighter was injured last night when hot embers fly into one of his eyes.

His is the only injury that's been reported.

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