St. George residents ignore wildfire evacuation order

Evacuations ordered as West Mims fire rages

Crews have created a 65-foot contingency line near St. George to keep the West Mims wildfire away from the town.

On Sunday, the evacuation order was expanded to include the east side of Highway 121 and North Highway 94.

From his home, Marvin Roberts could clearly hear helicopters and crews fighting the wildfire. He lives in the area under mandatory evacuation, but Roberts told Action News Jax he’s staying put.

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“It’s my home. I want to protect my home and my neighbors. That’s just the way I am,” Roberts said.

Charlton County began ordering evacuations in St. George on Saturday as the fire threatened 60 structures. The fire was sparked by a lighting strike.

On Sunday, volunteers dropped off water for crews as they battled the over 129,000-acre fire.

Fire officials are asking neighbors to leave for the safety of their officers.

“If they have to protect human lives first, which they will, then that takes them away from the job of putting out the fire,” Melanie Banton with Florida Forestry said.

Roberts said he just can’t live his home. “It’ll burn that. Then I’ll take my dog Dixie Doodle. I’ll get on my tractor, then I’ll go. Other than that I ain’t going no where,” Roberts said.

Officers said they can’t force anyone to leave their homes.

Once residents leave, they won’t be allowed back into St. George until the evacuation order has been lifted.