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Wildfire burning on federally protected Georgia island

July 5, 2019

CUMBERLAND ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The National Park Service is keeping a close watch on a wildfire burning on a federally protected island off the Georgia coast.

Officials say the blaze has burned more than 350 acres (1.4 square kilometers) on Cumberland Island. That’s an area just over half of a square mile. Lightning is suspected of sparking the fire June 29.

The park service manages Cumberland Island as a federally protected wilderness area. The island remains open to visitors, though some roads, trails and a campground have been closed.

The park service said in a news release that 58 firefighters have been assigned to protect homes and historic buildings.

Periodic fire is needed to keep Cumberland Island’s forests from becoming overgrown. Unless people or structures are threatened, officials prefer to let wildfires burn naturally.

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