VERIFY: West Mims Fire the largest in the country

We set out to verify if the West Mims fire is the largest in the country.

CLAIM: The West Mims fire is now the nation's largest fire
 
After nearly a month, the West Mims fire at the Okefenokee National Wildfire Rescue is still growing. So far, it has burned more than 100-thousand acres, that's nearly three times of the size of Miami's metro area. Despite more than 460 people assigned to the fire, it's only 8% contained.
 

STORY: West Mims Fire grows to over 100,000 acres burned

 
You may have seen reports that the West Mims wildfire is now the nation's largest fire. We set out to verify the claim.
  
We spoke with Leland Bass with the West Mims Fire incident management team. We also checked a government website on active wildfires around the country.
 
According to The National Wildfire Coordinating Group, based on the number of acres burned, the West Mims fire is sixth largest on the list. That would make the claim untrue if you just stopped there.
 
However, we took a closer look and many of the fires larger than West Mims have not been updated. That's because they are 100% contained, but are still listed as "active." 
 
"We are the largest active wildfire right now," said Bass. "That's why they didn't update [the website] because the containment is 100%. They're just monitoring it to make sure there isn't a change in weather," he said.
 
So we can verify the West Mims fire is the largest uncontained wildfire in the country. Bass also says, unless we see heavy rainfall of at least three inches, they plan to continue working on this wildfire until November.
 
If you have something you want us to verify, email us at verify@firstcoastnews.com or fill out the form below.
 

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Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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