Park service: Lightning sparks wildfire on Cumberland Island

CUMBERLAND ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - The National Park Service is monitoring a wildfire sparked by lightning on Cumberland Island.

Nick Roll, a park ranger for the federally managed island off coastal Georgia, said Friday the fire had burned about 5.7 acres on the island's north end. A campground and trail were closed, but visitors were still being allowed onto the island. The fire was burning about 10 miles north of the ferry dock where tourists arrive.

Roll said a visitor reported the fire Thursday, not long after overnight storms rolled across southeast Georgia.

Cumberland island is home to 15 square miles of federally protected wilderness. The park service said in a new release it plans to manage the blaze, rather than try to extinguish it, because fire is essential to the island's ecosystem.