May 1, 2007
Atkinson County -- A four thousand two hundred acre fire four miles south of Pearson is causing all the problems there.
Authorities say visibility on many of the roads is reduced to less than 1/8th of a mile making it dangerous to drive in the county. Therefore school buses could not run their routes this morning and state highways are closed.
Authorities say 10 homes near the fire were evacuated last night and a shelter is now open at the Covenant Christian Church in Douglas. Authorities say the Atkinson county fire is now 50 percent contained. Authorities say this relatively small fire is creating a huge amount of smoke.
Firefighters are doing better in the bigger fire in Ware County. This morning the fire was 70 percent contained.
That fire has burned 87,000 acres and 830 firefighters from around the country continue to fight what is now the largest wildfire in Georgia History.
The Race Pond area in Charlton County is under a mandatory evacuation order. U. S. Highway 1, Georgia Highway 121, and many local roads in that area remained closed overnight.
Charlton County schools opened at 9AM today.
Highway 82 is closed between Millwood in Ware County and Pearson in Atkinson County, and some state roads in Atkinson County are closed today.
Firefighters made progress against the Roundabout Swamp fire there, but it spread outside the swamp last night.
Senator Saxby Chambliss flew over the fires and met with Georgia Forestry Commission officials, and Governor Sonny Perdue is flying to the area today.
Scientists around the country will have fires like this on their mind today as the national wildfire forecast is being released. Last year was the worst fire season in a half-century, and early reports say the national forecast won't show much of a reprieve from 2006.
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