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Lightning starts fire in Cumberland Island wilderness

Wildfire crews monitoring 30-acre Whitney Fire on north end of island

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CUMBERLAND ISLAND, Ga. – A lightning strike has ignited a wildfire.  The Whitney Fire on the north end of Cumberland Island has caused the closure of the Brickhill Bluff campground. The fire started as storms passed over the island late Friday night and early Saturday morning. The burned area was assessed at 30 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

The western edge of the burn is along the Bunkley Trail, just north of its intersection with Brickhill Bluff Trail. Fire activity is expected to increase with rising afternoon temperatures and lower humidity. All fire activity is currently located south of North Cut Road and east of Bunkley Trail.

Due to the location of the fire, all trails between South Cut Trail and North Cut Road are closed to visitor access. Island tours are traveling only as far north as Plum Orchard Mansion.

Brickhill  Bluff campground has been closed, and reservation holders are being relocated to available 
campgrounds.

Visitation to the south end of the island is not expected to be impacted by closures or smoke.

Minimal smoke impacts are being observed on the north end of the island but could increase with 
shifting winds.

The fire was first reported by an island resident who saw smoke Saturday evening. 

Cumberland Island National Seashore fire personnel coordinated the response with support from the Georgia Forestry Commission and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. 

The safety of island visitors, residents, employees and structures is the primary concern. Please follow all signage as posted and speak with a Cumberland Island Ranger if you have questions by calling 912-882-4336 x 254.

Fire is an essential part of the ecosystem on Cumberland Island. Pond pine and palmettos are the primary vegetation found in the area of this burn. These species have adapted to fire and are  dependent on it for reproduction and to establish a healthy succession and diversity of plant and 
animal life.

Cumberland Island is the largest barrier island off the coast of Georgia, encompassing more than 
36,000 acres of maritime forests, salt marsh and beaches. The island is also home to over 9,800 
acres of congressionally designated wilderness. The island’s natural and cultural resources provide 
a rich and diverse habitat for wildlife and offer a glimpse into the long history of coastal Georgia.

The seashore is accessible by pedestrian-only passenger ferry from the historic community of St. 
Marys.