Published: May 6,2017
A Georgia wildfire fanned by gusty winds grew considerably overnight, prompting officials to order a mandatory evacuation Saturday of at least 60 homes in Charlton County.
According to Inciweb, the West Mims fire has scorched more than 185 square miles in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and is 12 percent contained. Dry, windy conditions Friday fanned the flames, causing it to grow more than 3,000 acres.
The West Mims Fire Management Team told WTLV evacuations occurred on Highway 121 from Jim Crawford Loop Road to the town of St. George, Georgia.
The lightning-sparked fire was reported on April 6 and was located approximately 2.5 miles northeast of the Eddy Fire Tower in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Inciweb reports.
Smoke can be seen from several counties Saturday, including Nassau County, Duval and Clay County.
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According to weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles, southeastern Georgia has seen wind gusts over 20 mph almost all day Saturday with lowering humidity values as warmer temperatures heat up the area.
"This will allow fires to grow quickly through the evening hours," he said.
According to Inciweb, the "fire will continue to burn very actively into the night due to high winds."
"Continued dry airmass over fire area will contribute to increased fire behavior" over the next 72 hours, Inciweb reports.
Inciweb also says the fire will not likely be fully contained until November.
There are more than 500 responders are on the scene battling the blaze.
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