Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Fish and Wildlife Service
Folkston, GA 31537
West Mims Fire Evening Update
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
FAST FACTS: The West Mims Fire is currently 21,790 acres and 3% contained. 330 personnel are assigned to this incident. Equipment resources include 6 helicopters, twenty five wildland fire engines, 5 dozers, thirty six tractor plows, 2 interagency hot shot crews, 1 initial attack crew. A Georgia Forestry Commission Type 2 Incident Management Team is managing the fire with various overhead and support positions. Summary: Crews made additional progress reinforcing containment lines to Cypress Creek and prepared lines from the main entrance of the refuge (Suwanee Canal Recreation Area) going south. There was some growth on the northern flank of the fire today, pushing deeper into the swamp. The fire continues to burn the dry fuels and will move actively with the increase in wind speed that is expected tomorrow. The U.S. Forest Service provided additional information today about the air tanker that dropped retardant close to the Lake City Airport on April 18. Denise Rains from the Osceola National Forest states “The small quantity of retardant dropped poses no health threat to the community, vegetation, or wildlife. While in flight, a mechanical issue caused retardant to leak from the gates of the air tanker’s holding tank. A fine, liquid, mist of retardant was released over a five to six mile stretch along the east side of Lake City close to the airport, south of Hwy 90. Retardant is a reddish liquid substance that can be removed with water. It is a soluble substance, non-toxic and safe to the environment. Anyone who needs additional information about the incident should call Denise Rains at 850-523-8568.” Community Meetings: Community meetings will be held in Charlton County this weekend for residents and visitors to receive an update on the West Mims Fire. A meeting at the St. George Fire Department will be at 6:30 P.M. on Friday April 21, 2017. A meeting at the OREC Auditorium in Folkston will be at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Clinch and Charlton County Emergency Management is keeping residents and visitors to the area informed on the fire conditions and providing “Ready, Set, Go!” information to residents.
Restrictions and closures: FL2/GA94 from the agricultural check station at the GA/FL line to U.S. 441 in Fargo will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. The Wilderness Canoe Trail overnight stops within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are closed as well as the Chesser Island Boardwalk. The Chesser Island Homestead will be closed beginning Friday April 21, to allow structure protection efforts to begin. A burn ban is in place within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and a countywide burn ban in Baker County, Fl.