Crews battle wildfire at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Crews battle wildfire at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Crews are working to contain a wildfire at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge after a lightning strike sparked the blaze. (Source: WALB) Crews are working to contain a wildfire at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge after a lightning strike sparked the blaze. (Source: WALB)
Crews have been battling the flames to make sure they don't reach homes in the area. (Source: WALB) Crews have been battling the flames to make sure they don't reach homes in the area. (Source: WALB)
Smoke has filled the roads and the air, small flames, and a few larger ones, can be seen almost everywhere. (Source: WALB) Smoke has filled the roads and the air, small flames, and a few larger ones, can be seen almost everywhere. (Source: WALB)
Currently, nearly 200 people are helping contain the fire. (Source: WALB) Currently, nearly 200 people are helping contain the fire. (Source: WALB)
CLINCH CO., GA (WALB) -

South Georgia residents might notice smoky skies when they step outside.

That's because crews are working to fight a wildfire in the Okeefenokee Wildlife Reserve. 

The fire has spread across nearly 20,000 acres.

Smoke has filled the roads and the air, small flames, and a few larger ones, can be seen almost everywhere. 

WALB's Caitlyn Chastain got a look inside the more than 18 thousand acre fire at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday. 

"It has spread fast in the past couple of days. Particularly in the afternoon," explained Information Officer Susan Granbery.

A lightning strike started the fire on April 6, and the blaze quickly grew. 

Crews have been battling the flames to make sure they don't reach homes in the area.

"Know that we're doing everything we can. We've got highly skilled firefighters that are just working very hard to keep everybody's homes and property safe," Granbery said. 

Currently, nearly 200 people are helping contain the fire, including a helicopter surveying the area and multiple crews on the ground. 

Since natural fires are good for the swamp, right now, firefighters are only putting out the fire on private property, and containing the fire that's burning in the wildlife refuge. 

"Fire is a natural occurrence and crews are doing everything they can in order to keep the fire in the swamp edge," Granbery explained. "So far they have been successful."

So residents in the area are advised to watch out for roads that are closed due to heavy smoke. 

"People are going to continue to see smoke," said Granbery. "They are going to continue to see the heavy equipment and firefighters coming into town."

The fire is only 3-percent contained right now, and it is expected to burn until mid-June at the earliest, according to Georgia Forestry employees. 

All main entrances into the Okefenokee are still open at this time.

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