Swamp Fire Smoke Hurting Tourism

Amelia Island finally saw some relief from the smoke drifting from the swamp fires in South Georgia late last week.

Swamp Fire Smoke Hurting TourismWe finally saw some relief from the smoke drifting from the swamp fires in South Georgia late last week and let’s hope it stays away from our island community.

Vacationers were disappointed and some tourists even cancelled their reservations or shortened their stays here in Fernandina Beach.

Hot and dry weather conditions are not helping to curb fires across Southeast Georgia and afternoon thunderstorm lightning strikes may start new fires.

Here is Friday morning’s news release from the Georgia Fire Information Center:

Honey Prairie Fire Complex: 280,527 acres 60% contained
Sweat Farm Again Fire: 19,725 38% contained
Racepond Fire: 21,103 acres 60% contained

A public meeting has been scheduled for the Ware County High School Performing Arts Center in Waycross, Saturday, June 25 at 7 pm. The meeting will help answer questions from the public about fire across SE Georgia.

Scattered thunderstorms that moved across southeast Georgia on Thursday provided much needed rain on most fires in the area. These storms unfortunately brought much more than rain; thunderstorms sparked multiple new fires across the southeast Georgia yesterday.

Thunderstorms predicted for today could bring more rain, along with lightning throughout the southeast part of the state. These storms may bring erratic winds which could test containment lines. Yesterdays storms and high winds caused extreme fire behavior, causing fire managers to pull fire crews out of certain areas for safety reasons.

Firefighters on the Honey Prairie Fire are planning to conduct strategic firing operations (burnout) in the area around the Okefenokee Swamp Park as soon as conditions are favorable. These operations will result in smoke being highly visible in the Waycross area, with the potential for some of the smoke to settle.

Crews on the Honey Prairie Fire and the Satilla Summer Fires will continue to patrol and work hot spots around the perimeters of the fire. Groups from the Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia National Guard, and the Georgia Department of Corrections will work with Georgia Forestry Commission crews today to strengthen and widen containment lines.

Fire crews are pouring in from over 46 states to assist the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge with suppressing fires. Assistance from these outside resources will help provide much needed rest for local fire crews and help contain these fires much quicker.”

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