West Mims firefight gains ground at last

At long last, the fight against the West Mims wildfire has gained significant ground.

For the first time in about two weeks, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is reporting a change to the percentage of the fire that is contained, from 65 percent to 85 percent, despite that the fire's footprint - roughly 152,000 acres - hasn't changed materially.

The refuge reports, a surveillance flight on Thursday showed only hotspots located in the southeast section of the fire, west of St. George, Georgia.

A report issued Saturday indicates, "Fuel moisture remains high and higher relative humidity factors have allowed crews to concentrate on suppression repair". But the same report notes caution about the possibility of lightning sparking a new fire.

Wetter weather in recent weeks has also eased the needed number of personnel to fight the fire, with Saturday's headcount at 249, compared to numbers nearing 600 in late May. Their current available equipment includes three helicopters, 11 wildland fire engines, and four bulldozers.

The West Mims fire began April 6 when lightning struck approximately 2.5 miles northeast of the Eddy Fire Tower in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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