GEORGIA FIRES fill the air with smoke and fear…FLORIDA smells the damage, from over 200 miles away!

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In WAYCROSS, Georgia, wind gusts fanned flames into treetops Monday as crews continued to battle a wildfire that has burned 125 square miles of forest and swampland in the past two weeks.

More than 830 firefighters from Georgia and neighboring states had the blaze 64 percent contained Monday morning, said Susan Reisch, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

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“We expect the fire will continue to burn intensely this week,” Reisch said. “Crews will be working on extinguishing hot spots through the month, or until the next heavy rain at the earliest.” No rain was forecast for the next several days, while low humidity and sustained winds of 10 mph threatened to help spread the fire Monday.

The blaze has blanketed cities including Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida — about 200 miles away — with its smoke.

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The fire has burned 80,000 acres in the Okefenokee Swamp and surrounding forest in southeast Georgia’s Ware County. The blaze started April 16 when a tree fell on a power line. It spread rapidly, destroying 22 homes.

A 16-mile section of U.S. 1, which connects Waycross with Jacksonville remained closed Monday as firefighters widened breaks to keep the fire from crossing the highway into miles of tinder-dry forest.

A few families remained evacuated Monday from their homes near the northern edge of the swamp.

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Firefighters also worked to contain two smaller wildfires that broke out Sunday in neighboring Charlton and Brantley counties. Weiss said at least nine families were evacuated from Charlton County.
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Thank you  Associated Press.
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For over two weeks we in cental Florida, have seen and smelt the fires of Georgia.  Yesterday was especially bad.  The air was thick with smoke and every night the moon is covered with a hazy ring of smoke.

The northern winds are bringing the reality that the fires is just over the state line and our area is dry from lack of April showers.

I remember in 1985, I had to come from Fort Worth to check on my Mother who lived in the Ocala Forest.  At that time, the forest was ablaze and all those who had property in that area, where threatened and many lost their homes.  I can not even imagine how much wild life lost their lives, as the fire swept thru the area for weeks, ravaging acres and miles.

The really dangerous thing about a fire in a swampy area, is that the peat moss will ignite and the fire will go underground with it…which means…that a fire can pop up just about anywhere, once it gets started.  A mile away or 500 feet…it doen’t matter…it smoulders and stays lit until it gets a good wind pulling at it and then it runs again.

When I got to the area, after driving for two days…I was met by Florida State Troupers who would not let in past their road block…well Baby Boomers…those of you who know me…KNOW that wouldn’t be something that would stop me.  MY Mother was only 5 miles away and if she was in danger, I was going in!

I had been calling her for the last four days, but to no avail.

SO what do I do…you got it I turned around…turned around again and ran the road block…knocked those puppies out of the way with my new Lincoln.  Needless to say…the Troopers came after me with lights and sirens blaring…I had to stop when the cruised in front of me as I wouldn’t endanger their lives…well they made me turn around and told me they could arrest me…go ahead I stated…No Judge in this area is going to put me behind bars for going into a fire zone to get their Mother out.

Well…I finally promised to give up if they didn’t arrest me {what could I do from a jail cell?}.  What they did tell me were what other routes were not blocked…so off I went 35 miles in a big u turn to get in to the burning area. {glad that some of us were senseable that night!}

As it turns out…my Mother wasn’t even in her house.  She was in Silver Springs, partying with her co~workers at a Fire Party. LOL

So, that is my adventure of the fires that burned the Ocala National Forest.  You can still see the scares from that fire, on the trees that survived it.  Trunks of trees still black from the fire…but everything else has come back even better than it was.

Nature has a way of taking care of business that we, as humans don’t understand.

I will pray for rain for the Georgians and Florida and for their protection from harms way.

And my heart felt thanks, to those brave Fire Fighters who have diligently fought this fire…those from the area and those of you who have come in to help, from other areas.  I know you are out there!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

~ by thebabyboomerqueen on May 1, 2007.

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