Georgia wildfire is a force -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia wildfire is a force

April 17, 2007

Waycross  --  The fire that began Monday morning is still blazing and actually spreading now in Ware County.

Over 20 fire departments from all over the state have come to help but with the blaze continuing to spread at such a rapid rate, they are going to need more.

A cloud of is towering over the county and seen for miles around, and it's looking to only get bigger.

It's torn through 10,000 acres for more than 30 hours, and It's the worst blaze that these fire fighters have ever seen.

"They just told us to evacuate," said Ronald Miles. "We just left. we got our pillows and covers, and just left."

Spreading on for 11 miles, the massive fire has forced thousands to evacuate their homes. "We need some way to try to save structures, and to prevent any loss of life, if we possibly can," said Waycross Fire Chief Cedric Scott.

Showing no signs of slowing down, fire fighters are doing what they can to protect those homes and businesses laying in it's wake.

 "It's hard to get these firefighters off the line, out of the field, so they can get rehab, and get fluids and get something to eat," said Scott.

But the heat and long hours are beginning to take it's toll as several fire fighters have been hospitalized for heat, exhaustion and smoke inhalation. "We still have some tough times to go through," Scott said. "This fire is in no way complete. It's going to take a lot of man hours, a lot of people, to try to get our hands around this thing."

Over 20 agencies from all over the state have come to lend a helping hand but they say that still might not be enough.

Tuesday morning, fire fighters thought they did have their hands around it and had about 25 percent of the fire contained.  But the wind has picked up again and spread the fire an additional two miles.  And until it dies down, there's no way to tell how long it will take to put it out. One fireman suffered a leg injury when he was struck by a vehicle.

School will be out again Wednesday in Ware County.