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McDuffie Rangers battle South Georgia wildfires

More than 200 firefighting professionals from the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and other emergency management agencies are battling fires in South Georgia that have blackened over 25,000 acres and destroyed several homes.

"This one will go into the history books of wildland fires in Georgia," said Frank Sorrells, GFC Waycross District Ranger, of the Ware County-Sweat Farm Road fire. "We're pulling equipment and personnel in from all over Georgia, and more are on standby to put out these dangerous fires," said Hal Sharpe, GFC Chief Ranger, McDuffie/Warren County.

GFC Ranger David Cheely from the McDuffie/Warren Forestry Unit has been deployed to Warren County as a Strike Team leader to coordinate a team of GFC personnel to battle the uncontained fire in Warren County. Also, McDuffie/Warren Forestry Unit Ranger Josh Edwards worked with a team of GFC professionals to help control a fire in Waycross.

Fires have burned some 2,200 acres in Brantley and Wayne counties. Other fires started recently are in Clinch County 1,000 acres, Barrien County 300 acres, and Long County 1600 acres. Conditions have been extremely dry and the humidity remains very low. Winds are sometimes high which causes fire to spread rapidly. Smoke from the wildfires is affecting areas as far away as Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Fla.

Ranger Sharpe is urging residents to refrain from doing any outdoor burning due to poor weather conditions and the drain on manpower and equipments assigned to South Georgia.

Web posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007

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