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Beaches Reopen on Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge After Wildfire is Contained

July 21, 2006

Amy Ochoa, Public Information Officer – (912) 652-4030 x111

The south beach of Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge in McIntosh County, Georgia will reopen today after the announcement that the 117-acre “Blackbeard’s Revenge” wildfire has been contained. The South Beach Trail and all non-beach areas south of it will remain closed, however, until fire personnel determine that the area is safe for public use.

Although the perimeter of the burn area is secure, hot and dry weather conditions are causing many interior areas to reignite. Until major rainfall is received, it is likely that this pattern will continue.

With suppression activities winding down, the interagency hand crew assigned to the fire, as well as several overhead personnel, were released this morning. A small crew will remain on the island throughout the weekend to monitor fire behavior and patrol fire lines. The helicopter, which was used to drop water on the fire, has been put on stand-by, but will remain positioned on the island.

The “Blackbeard’s Revenge” wildfire began as a lightning strike on Thursday, July 6 and smoldered undetected until Saturday, when it was observed by the captain of a passing barge. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service personnel were dispatched to the island Sunday, July 9 and have remained on the refuge since. The fire is located in a designated Wilderness area; therefore, Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) were used to suppress the fire, as well as aerial water drops. To date, the fire has burned a total of 117 acres.

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