Okefenokee refuge reopening after wildfire closure

FOLKSTON, Ga. (AP) - Parts of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are reopening to visitors this weekend after being closed for nearly six weeks by a vast wildfire that continues to burn in remote areas of the swamp.

Art Webster, the refuge's supervisory ranger, announced Friday that most hiking trails and one 2-mile canal for canoeing will be available when the federally protected refuge opens Saturday morning.

The entire refuge has been closed since June 13 because of the Honey Prairie Fire, which has burned more than 302,000 acres in the swamp.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Forestry Commission says it's close to containing two large fires outside the swamp - the Sweat Farm Again fire near Waycross and the Racepond fire. Spokeswoman Wendy Burnett says firefighters hope to declare the fires contained next week.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.