Authorities say a wildfire sparked by lightning in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has continued to spread, burning through more than 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of swamp and forest land near the Georgia-Florida state line.

Susan Heisey, supervisory ranger for the south Georgia refuge, said Tuesday that more firefighters are being added to a team of more than 100 trying to contain the blaze to public land.

Heisey said the fire began in the southern portion of the Okefenokee refuge’s vast 407,000 acres (16,400 hectares). She said it has now spread into the neighboring Osceola National Forest and John M. Bethea State Forest in Florida.

Heisey said the fire has been advancing westward, away from local communities. All campsites and trails in the Okefenokee refuge remain open to visitors.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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