• West Mims wildfire: Nassau County issues evacuation preparation advisory

    By: Action News Jax


    Nassau County officials have issued an evacuation preparation advisory because of the West Mims fire.

    The wildfire in West Mims has burned 140,409 acres.

    Nassau County Emergency Management has advised people living in Western Nassau County -- west of CR-121 to the Charlton County, Georgia border, from the intersection of CR-121 and CR-108 at Carroll Corner Rd south to the Duval County line --  to prepare for evacuation now in case the fire continues to advance.

    Officials said the advisory is NOT an evacuation order. The emergency management director is strongly suggesting people begin preparations for evacuation of families, pets, property and livestock should an evacuation order become necessary.

    The Nassau County Fairgrounds will open Tuesday afternoon for residents who need somewhere to move their livestock.

    Nassau County Animal Services has established a Facebook page West Mims Fire Farm and Livestock Help for those who need help moving or housing threatened livestock to get in touch with residents willing to help transfer or temporarily house displaced animals.  

    Almost 700 workers are working to put out the fire in Charlton County. It is currently 12 percent contained, Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge officials said Tuesday.

    The fire is approximately 2 1/2 miles from St. George, a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson told Action News Jax. Evacuation orders are in place for everyone with a St. George or Moniac address. 

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized federal funds Tuesday to reimburse Georgia for the cost of fighting the fire. 

    Related: West Mims wildfire spreads to 140,000 acres | 7,000 more acres burned in West Mims fire Monday

    The funds will cover 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the West Mims wildfire FEMA authorities stated Tuesday.

    The eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire, as well as costs related to emergency work like evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.  

    Current evacuations, road closures and burn bans:
    • The Charlton County evacuation area has now been expanded to include the entire southern half of the county, including Canaday Loop, Georgia Bend, and all locations with an address in Moniac or St. George. A shelter is open at the Camden County Recreation Center, 1050 Wildcat Drive in Kingsland (912-729-5600).
    • Hwy 121 is closed from Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge south to the intersection of Hwy 94.
    • Hwy 94 is closed from Hwy 121 to Hwy 185.
    • Hwy 177 is closed 11 miles north of the intersection with GA 94 at the entrance to the Stephen C. Foster State Park
    • Roads may be temporarily closed, as needed, due to smoke or equipment movement.
    • Burn bans are in effect for Nassau and Baker Counties, Florida; Charlton County, Georgia, and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

    Action News Jax reporter Cole Heath is at the perimeter of the fire. Follow him @ColeANjax for updates.

    Shifting winds on Tuesday are expected to be a challenge for the crews battling the blaze said Tom Stokesberry with the US Forest Service.

    The fire started April 6 and currently is threatening more than 250 homes and more than 1,000 residents have been evacuated. 

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