Campfires banned in Okefenokee refuge as wildfire burns

FOLKSTON, Ga. (AP) " Federal officials are banning campfires and charcoal grilling in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, where a wildfire has burned 13 square miles (34 square km) near the Georgia-Florida line.

Refuge supervisory ranger Susan Heisey said Thursday that the ban comes before a busy holiday weekend amid dry conditions and "we don't want any new fires."

The fire was estimated Thursday to have burned 8,400 acres (34 square km) within the refuge and in neighboring Osceola National Forest and John M. Bethea State Forest in Florida. Officials say lightning sparked the blaze a week ago.

Florida state Highway 2 south of the refuge partially reopened Thursday after being closed three days because of smoke. The Florida Highway Patrol still planned to close the route between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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