JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Parts of southeastern Georgia were under a mandatory evacuation order Saturday after a wildfire scorched more than 150 square miles.
As of 1 p.m. ET, 60 homes have been evacuated in St. George, Ga., in Charlton County, just east of the Okefenokee Swamp, fire officials said.
The fire grew by more than 4 square miles Friday and was 12% contained as dry, windy conditions pushed the fire over areas that were once contained.
Nassau County Emergency Management said the fire is moving east toward the St. Mary’s River. They said firefighters are working to keep the fire from the city of St. George, which is under a mandatory evacuation order. The unincorporated community has about 2,000 people.
The area, on the Georgia-Florida line, is also under a dense smoke advisory that extends to northern Duval County, Fla., near the Jacksonville international airport.
A temporary shelter has been opened in the gymnasium at the Folkston Elementary School. Charlton County Administrator Shawn Boatright said it will stay open indefinitely.
“We’re not sure what’s going to happen right now, so it’s open until further notice,” he said.
The wildfire started by lightning April 6 and has since burned more than 150 square miles on public lands.
It has burned almost entirely within the Okefenokee refuge boundaries — and some public forestland in north Florida — for the past month, but escaped fire breaks around the refuge Friday and has burned an estimated 1,000 acres on private land.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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