Weather conditions perfect for wildfires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Weather conditions perfect for wildfires

April 18, 2007

Mitchell County -- It only took a few sparks to ignite these fires that are ravaging Southeast Georgia. That goes to show how dry it is and it's important that you be careful not to start a fire.

The weather is a major factor for the wildfire danger. Rangers say that the wildfire danger in Georgia this April is extreme. Georgia Forestry Commission District Ranger Forrest Sumner said "with no rainfall recovery in most areas, it's a tinderbox."

In the 16 county Southwest Georgia district, the Georgia Forestry Commission says there have already been 725 wildfires , destroying more than three thousand 400 acres, and several mobile homes, barns, and sheds. Right now South Georgia vegetation is so dry, Rangers say almost anything will start a blaze. Sumner said "ignite about any kind of spark, and turn into a wildfire."

Rangers say this April's weather has made normally blooming spring vegetation fuel ripe for fire, especially with extremely low relative humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, and high winds. Sumner said "the relative humidity is a big factor. Couple that with the drought index and all of our fuel hardly has any moisture in it. It appears to be green, but it will burn."

Sumner says 21 of the Southwest Georgia district's 38 rangers have gone to Ware County with their airplanes and equipment, leaving very little resources to battle any fires that should start here. So it's vital that everyone prevent wildfires. Sumner said "we're asking people to postpone any burns till we do receive significant rainfall, because we do have a lot of our resources assisting the Waycross District."

 Sumner says any spark, or a cigarette thrown from a car could start a wildfire that could be devastating. Everyone needs to use extreme caution.

Another key factor in wildfires is getting them under control quickly. If you see a wildfire, contact the Georgia Forestry Commission quickly, before it can spread.

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