Georgia fire officials say, less than 100 fire personnel will be working the Okefenokee Swamp's Honey Praire Fire by this weekend. The officials say, they are "right-sizing" fire-fighting efforts based on ground conditions. At its worst, fire-figters and support staff numbered about 1,000.
A wildfire burning out of control in southeast Georgia a few miles west of Waycross has raced across nearly 8 square miles in less than a day, forcing some rural residents to evacuate. Jonathan Daniel, emergency management director for Ware County, said Thursday about 75 homes were evacuated overnight. He says residents of about 25 homes have been unable to return because the flames are still too close.
While the fire mostly has been contained, the aerial videos date from the fire's early weeks, when it appeared more dramatic from the air. The videos come from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission. They were uploaded to a public website on May 20.
Firefighters have contained 55% of the massive blaze burning in the Okefenokee Swamp. Progress came quickly this week as wind, humidity and temperatures combined to allow crews to start controlled burns to corral the blaze. The fire has consumed the refuge's lower third.
Environmental groups have formally asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-introduce panthers to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. If their idea is adopted, about a dozen endangered Florida panthers could be put in the swamp to start a new population there. They say, the cats' habitat in South Florida is diminishing.
The Nature Conservancy has bought more than a thousand acres of fire-scorched land and donated it to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The land is on the refuge's northwest edge, where wildfires burned a half million acres in 2007.