The Okefenokee Swamp is burning again and could for some time. Dry weather and fires have been a part of it long before mankind arrived. The last major fire there was in 2011 and it lasted all summer. Fire has long been recognized as necessary to keep the swamp in existence. Without drought fires the swamp wouldn’t continue to exist.
The Okefenokee is listed as one of Georgia’s seven wonders. In addition to being the only black water swamp in the U.S., it has a special type of ground that shakes and trembles in certain places. That unique characteristic was called Okefenokee by the Indians.
It covers 681 square miles and was formed about 250,000 years ago when the ocean’s coast was still about 75 miles inland from today’s location. Ocean currents built a big sand bar 40 miles long on the east side of the swamp. When the ocean receded, it left a massive, shallow lagoon of sea water there that gradually became fresh water.
Frank NeSmith, Columnist
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