The sprawling West Mims Fire that has been burning since April, largely in a south Georgia swamp, broke containment lines on Saturday and sent ash falling as far away as downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
The lightning-caused fire was reported on April 6 in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and has burned more than 135,000 acres. Crews on Saturday dealt with gusty winds and relative humidity levels around 18 percent, which drove the blaze past containment lines and fanned it farther east.
— USFWS Fire SE (@USFWSFireSE) May 7, 2017
“The fire moved aggressively to the east and southeast against an enhanced air and ground attack today,” officials wrote in a Saturday night InciWeb update.
The fire and a blanket of falling ash on Saturday unnerved some residents near downtown Jacksonville, the Florida Times-Union reported.
Similar conditions were forecast for Sunday, and evacuation orders remained in place. Additional heavy air tankers were expected to arrive on Sunday from California and Montana to assist the approximately 535 personnel assigned to the incident.
The West Mims Fire remains just 12 percent contained. No injuries have been reported. Full containment isn’t expected until Nov. 1.
— GAForestryCommission (@GaTrees) May 6, 2017