Foresters fighting too many wildfires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Foresters fighting too many wildfires

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March 24, 2003

Baker County- Georgia Forestry Commission Pilots are flying over south Georgia keeping an eye out for wildfires.

Someone set a fire that left this part of Pine Bloom Plantation in Baker County smoking and smoldering.

"We believe we have an arsonist that's in this general area setting fires. We've had about three or four set here is the last four days," said Donald Bishop, chief ranger for Mitchell-Baker counties.

This is the season for wildfires with windy weather and low humidity. The fires spread fast and they're dangerous to fight.

"The heat, getting trapped, slow-moving equipment plus fast moving fire can cause you a problem," Bishop said.

Foresters fight these fires with tractors. They dig breaks like this to keep the fire from spreading. But with land this dry, the flames can jump the break.

"Stay with it till it's out and keep a check on it cause right now all it takes is a spark to get across the break and you could have major problems," said Greg Findley, district forester.

For now, foresters will keep working from the roadways to the airways to make sure South Georgia land stays safe.

Forestry Rangers may start issuing burn permits again soon. But they won't allow them in residential areas. They'll give them only to experienced burners. Rangers will caution burners to stay with fires until they're out and watch the area for several days after the burn. If problems develop, the Forestry Commission will again prohibit all burning.

posted at 10:39 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com