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Families evacuate as swamp fire spreads

SAVANNAH --- Arid winds spread two wildfires across thousands of acres Thursday in neighboring counties outside the Okefenokee Swamp as emergency officials ordered several dozen families to evacuate rural homes among the timberland that's feeding the flames.

A fire of unknown origin forced the evacuations in Ware County as it raced over 8 square miles -- more than 5,000 acres -- in a single day after igniting Wednesday. The blaze was burning Thursday evening about five miles west of Waycross.

Meanwhile, officials in neighboring Charlton County were warning residents after the Racepond fire, which has burned northeast of the Okefenokee since May 25, flared up and jumped containment lines Thursday to grow an additional 4,500 acres. That fire has now burned about 23 square miles, or 14,500 acres.

Georgia is facing its busiest wildfire season in years. More than 530 have been reported statewide since June 1, when the season is typically winding down. Scattered thunderstorms in southeast Georgia have largely hurt more than they've helped, bringing little rain but plenty of wind and lightning.

Cobb County schools alter Facebook policy

MARIETTA --- Officials for Cobb County Schools say they've taken steps to limit comments allowed on the system's official Facebook page after the district deemed some of the feedback offensive or inappropriate.

School district spokesman Doug Goodwin, who monitors the district's Facebook account, said the inappropriate comments included inaccurate statements about conditions at one of the district's schools.

The Marietta Daily Journal reports the change will prevent users from adding whatever comments they want to the district's Facebook wall. Users will still be permitted to comment on items posted by the district.

The metro Atlanta district, one of Georgia's largest, has more than 5,200 followers of its Facebook site.


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Storm brings heavy rain, property damage reported

The National Weather Service in Columbia says the threat of severe weather has left the Augusta area, but not before leaving behind some property damage Sunday.
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