Wildfire destroys several acres in Worth County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wildfire destroys several acres in Worth County

February 28, 2007

Worth County--  We're in the middle of Georgia's wildfire season. Wednesday night, the Forestry Commission listed the wildfire threat as high to very high across most of south Georgia. The peak season is during the dry windy months from February through May.

Firefighters in several counties were busy battling wildfires.  A major one was in Worth County.

Spotter planes flew through smoky skies over Worth County, above the bright flames that scorched miles of land.

"This is catastrophic as far as I'm concerned," said Lonnie Blalock. Concern took over as well. There was fire and smoke in several areas.

"I saw a tremendous blaze 15, 20, 30, 40 feet in the air as it was going through the treetops, almost disbelief. All I could think was this could not be happening again," said Blalock. A sad surprise for Lonnie Blalock. He surveyed the damage after the flames destroyed more than 100 acres of his land, where he plants and harvests timber.

"It's several thousands of dollars and 20 years of hard work slipping away," said Blalock. Some 20-year-old timber now destroyed because of a passing train through Bridgeboro.  Smoke still rises by the train tracks after sparks flew from the wheels. Fires quickly spread on both sides of the track.

"You could see the smoke from Sylvester," said Worth County Asst. Fire Chief Jason Brooks. The Georgia Forestry Commission along with firefighters from Worth and Mitchell Counties, MCLB and Albany acted quickly to get things under control as some flames even threatened homes.

"Most of it around homes was contained with water. The majority of it was contained by firebreaks through forestry," said Brooks. Close to sunset, firefighters had the wildfire down to a controlled burn but too late for Blalock's land.

"It's happened and there's no way to undo what's been done," Blalock. Although he lost the battle, he's optimistic.

"It's been a losing battle for me so far me but I'm not going to give up," said Blalock. The fire didn't destroy his outlook.  He hopes to replace the trees almost as quickly as they burned down.

This isn't the first time this happened to Blalock. Two years ago, he lost 12 acres from a fire caused by a passing train. He says he's complained to the railroad several times.  

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