Florida residents urged to prepare for wildfire evacuation

The West Mims fire is now more than 140,000 acres in size and is 12 percent contained. Officials in Florida's Nassau County said residents should prepare for possible evacuation. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Management Division

May 10 (UPI) — Emergency officials in Florida’s Nassau County have warned residents to prepare for possible evacuation due to wildfire that has grown to more than 140,000 acres.

Nassau County Emergency Management issued a precautionary notice Tuesday advising county residents to “prepare for a possible evacuation in case the West Mims Fire continues to advance.”

“This is not an evacuation order, but Emergency Management is strongly suggesting residents make preparations for evacuation of families, pets, property and livestock should an evacuation order become necessary,” the agency said in a statement.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group said the West Mims Fire, which started by lightning on April 6 at Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and later spread to Florida’s John M. Bethea State Forest, grew to 140,409 acres and is 12 percent contained as of late Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday authorized federal funds to reimburse Georgia’s costs to battle the fire in Charlton County.

The NWCG said hot and dry conditions will continue to fuel the flames until possibly Sunday, with very little chance of rain anticipated.

Georgia emergency officials on Monday issued mandatory evacuations for residents in the Georgia Bend, St. George, Canaday Loop and Moniac areas.

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