Wildfire forces evacuations in Southern Georgia

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge(ST. GEORGE, Ga.) -- Mandatory evacuations were issued in parts of Charlton County, Georgia, on Saturday as fire officials continue to battle a massive wildfire in the southern part of the state.

The West Mims fire, burning in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, is 12 percent contained and has blazed through more than 118,000 acres for about a month, according to officials. Dry conditions have helped fuel the fire and shifting winds have made the smoke worse, causing the smoke to spread to the Jacksonville, Florida-area.

At least 74 people were forced out of their homes because of the wildfire, officials said. Michael Davis, a spokesman for the Southern Area Incident Management Red Team, told ABC News if the fire moves closer to St. George, the evacuation numbers could grow significantly higher.

Officials are warning residents to follow evacuation orders if they are in an affected area.

"It's much easier to evacuate and come back with a bit of inconvenience than to possibly stay in a situation where things could go bad," Davis said to ABC News.

Rain is not expected over the next several days and critical fire weather conditions, or a Red Flag Warning, remain in effect.

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