Georgia Wildfire Burns 250 Acres

Brantley County fire is 80 percent contained

A Brantley County firefighter hauls hard on a fire hose as he wets down hot spots in a fire that destroyed a workshop off Britt Still Road Tuesday, March 28, 2017. The Georgia Forestry Commission said a permitted burn jumped containment and burned 125 to 150 acres. (Terry Dickson /The Florida Times-Union via AP)

 

RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Crews worked Wednesday to contain a wildfire that destroyed a family’s mobile home and several other buildings as it burned about 250 acres in a densely wooded area of rural southeast Georgia.

Firefighters had the blaze 80 percent contained Wednesday morning, said Wendy Burnett, spokeswoman for the Georgia Forestry Commission. It had charred less than half of a square mile after breaking out Tuesday afternoon in Brantley County, about 90 miles southeast of Savannah, where conditions have been unusually dry compared to a normal spring.

See also  Over 300 Firefighters Battle Western Montana Wildfire

Fire crews equipped with bulldozers and a water buffalo, a large vehicle used to transport water to remote areas, were reinforcing fire breaks plowed around the perimeter of the fire Wednesday and using hoses to douse any smoldering hotspots to keep them from reigniting, Burnett said.

“They’ve done a tremendous job getting it under control,” Burnett said. “We’re going to be out there monitoring for the rest of the week or until fire officials are satisfied that it’s completely out.”

She credited volunteer and full-time firefighters from six local departments with saving 45 structures in the fire’s path Tuesday while helicopters dropped buckets of water on the flames from the air.

See also  U.S. Sends Firefighters to Australia

The cause of the fire was still being investigated. Lee said initial reports indicated the wildfire may have started from a prescribed burn that got out of control.

“We understand a burn permit had been issued to a landowner to burn timberland,” Lee said. “They had fire breaks and all, but it escaped them.”

No one was injured, but 25 families had to be evacuated Tuesday. Red Cross volunteers were assisting one family whose mobile home was destroyed.

“It was actually in among a bunch of trees and we couldn’t get back there with a truck to save it,” said Michelle Lee, emergency management director for Brantley county.

Lee said seven other buildings also burned, including a couple of unoccupied mobile homes being used for storage and a garage where a resident worked repairing cars behind his home. Firefighters saved the man’s home, Lee said, but couldn’t spare the garage.

Nahunta volunteer firefighter Bill Bennett said the single wide mobile home behind him was the only occupied structure lost in a wildfire near Nahunta, Ga., Tuesday, March 28, 2017, that started when a permitted fire escaped containment. (Terry Dickson/Florida Times-Union via AP)

Georgia officials are bracing for a busy wildfire season as unseasonably dry weather covers most of the state. Much of central and southern Georgia, including Brantley County, is considered abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And a large portion of northern Georgia is suffering from moderate to extreme drought.

See also  Firefighters Step Up Efforts on Arizona Wildfire

“We’re looking at a very active wildfire season,” Burnett said.

Drought was blamed for wildfires that burned more than 40,000 acres, or 62 square miles, in north Georgia last fall. Southeast Georgia has seen fires grow much larger.

A blaze sparked in April 2011 burned more than 309,000 acres, or 480 square miles, mostly inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, until it was declared extinguished nearly a year later. In 2007, several fires in the same area charred more than 553,000 acres (860 square miles) in the swamp and neighboring communities in Georgia and northern Florida.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Topics

Brantley County fire is 80 percent contained   RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Crews worked Wednesday to contain a wildfire that destroyed a family’s mobile home and several other buildings as it burned about 250 acres in a densely wooded area of rural southeast Georgia. Firefighters had the blaze 80 percent contained […]

Get The Wildland Firefighter Newsletter

Related Articles

Fire Near Neah Bay (WA) Prompts Evacuations, School Closures

Fire Near Neah Bay (WA) Prompts Evacuations, School Closures

NEAH BAY, Wash. (AP) — A wildfire at the far northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula prompted more than 100 people to evacuate neighborhoods in Neah Bay on Thursday, and nearby schools have closed. The fire is burning on the remote Makah Indian reservation near...

Wildfire Burns Part of Southern OH Wayne National Forest

Wildfire Burns Part of Southern OH Wayne National Forest

PEDRO, Ohio (AP) — Officials say a 1,300-acre wildfire in Wayne National Forest in far southern Ohio began with multiple small wildfires earlier this week. A statement Thursday from Wayne National Forest said firefighters were working to contain the blaze and urged...