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Growing wildfire in Okefenokee refuge exceeds 90 sq. miles

FOLKSTON, Ga. (AP) — Officials say a wildfire on public lands near the Georgia-Florida state line has burned more than 90 square miles (233 sq. kilometers) as winds spread the flames through dry areas of the Okefenokee Swamp.

A news release by the firefighting command team said the overall area of the blaze grew more than 22 percent between Monday and Tuesday. So far, nearly all of the burned acreage has been confined to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia and the neighboring Osceola National Forest and John M. Bethea State Forest in Florida.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that winds were pushing smoke and falling ash into communities a few miles east of the Okefenokee refuge including Folkston, Georgia, and Hilliard, Florida.

A lightning strike started the fire April 6.

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