April 30, 2007 in Nation/World

Crews gain on fire, but no rain ahead

The Spokesman-Review
 

Firefighters have managed to contain about 70 percent of the largest wildfire in Georgia history, which had charred 100 square miles of forest and swampland, officials said Sunday.

A few families remained evacuated from their homes on the opposite side of U.S. Highway 1 from the main blaze, in an area where smaller spot fires started during the weekend, said Georgia Forestry Commission spokeswoman Susan Reisch.

Wind gusting to 15 mph and extreme drought conditions with no rain in the forecast mean the fire will continue to rage for at least another week, Reisch said.

DIXON, Ill.

Ex-Scout leader charged in case

A former regional Boy Scout official has been charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Scout at least four times since July.

Charles Bickerstaff, 56, of Dixon, was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and four counts of criminal sexual assault, Lee County Correctional Officer Larry Schremp said Sunday. Bail was set at $2.5 million at a hearing Friday, and Bickerstaff remained in custody Sunday.

Bickerstaff retired last year as district executive for the Blackhawk Area Council, covering northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, of the Boy Scouts of America.

From wire reports

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