Sirens and Smoke in the Okefenokee Swamp

by: Davis Yancy Clegg




There are several forces of nature that are inevitably going to occur annually due to the planet’s own person cleansing process. It’s hard enough to keep the faith as things are in the average citizen’s normal daily grind. Trials and tribulations are in no short supply for the working men and women trying to stay afloat. When along comes a natural disaster that changes you and your neighbors lives in the most unnatural and unpredictable way. Wildfires are an increasing concern among citizens in the Southeastern part of the United States. We tend to think the main cause for these fires is the lack of rain that dries up the land to the extent that fires ignite. However it turns out that humans are far more connected than one might presume. It is estimated that over 80 percent of all fires originating in the wild and forest areas are caused by negligence. While unintentional, these are crimes against Nature. In some circumstances, fires lite because of someone’s careless errors in the wild. Unfortunately the loss of human life is an all too regular occurrence.

Wildfire Budget Visual

Forestry services have limited funds as it is, and people responsible for starting wildfires are not helping the situation

In the past couple months, every citizen that resides in counties located in Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida has had the displeasure of living under a hazy, smoke-filled sky. Taking their breath and sunshine away for days at a time, the Okefenokee Swamp fire has served as an unfortunate awareness booster to the local residents. Both Firefighters and residents, eager to help in any way, have been working alongside one another to battle the blazes. While fire hydrants serve their purpose they may not be enough. I recently spoke with a gentlemen homeowner whose home is near one of the affected areas. He was looking to build a pump house to offer the pond on his property (called “standing water source” in city jargon) as a resource to combat the ever-spreading Okefenokee wildfire.

Along with the obvious fire damage, there are other factors that contribute to the collectively determined total damage sum. The Forestry services have limited funds as it is, and people responsible for starting wildfires are not helping the situation.

Smokey the BearPreventing forest fires is not a demanding thing for our communities to improve on. There are a few obvious, yet somehow missed opportunities at every turn that can be the difference in millions of dollars in homes and public service budgets being lost, or saved. When camping, it is imperative that you do not leave a campfire entirely unattended for even the shortest length of time. A stray ember in a dry environment is all it takes for catastrophic circumstances to emerge. At home, there are several ways that an accidental fire might occur and spread uncontrollably. Always be conscious of laws concerning burn piles, and the safety protocol that is to be followed. Never discard cigarettes in careless fashion. Lastly, and too often the case, arson – intentional and senseless acts of burning property – remains a serious threat. Double check your fire safety needs in your home and around your campsite, and you can help to protect our beautiful state and all the tourism that supports its upkeep and continued visual excellence. Local drop-off points for donating supplies to the firefighters still battling the Okefenokee blaze can be found by calling your city offices, or by visiting the Red Cross webpage. We all want to enjoy our outings and summer. Happy Summer, and we wish everyone safe travels. We hope they lead you to our docks very soon!


Did you know the Shrimping Eco Tours are operating? Make sure to reserve your seat before it is too late.





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