Governor surveys fire damage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Governor surveys fire damage

April 21, 2007

Waycross-- Fifty thousand acres are now said to be involved in the damaged area.  That was the number given to Governor Sonny Perdue at a briefing from the Georgia Forestry Commission in Waycross this afternoon.  

Governor Perdue took the opportunity today to tour by helicopter, the acres and acres of scorched earth, and the places that are still burning as this wildfire continues to spread. At the briefing, before going up in the chopper he told those at the command center he was beyond satisfied at their handling of this situation.  

Evacuees and volunteers eagerly shook the hand of the governor as he mingled with the crowd at the staging area this morning. "I got a chance to talk to people in the local community I talked to a lady who had been evactuated from her and this group of courageous firefighters saved her home and she was getting to go back in today and was very grateful for that," says Perdue.

He made the trip to show his support for not only for the ones effected by the fire, but the ones giving their all to put it out.  "I've heard good things about the local state and federal coordinated effort.  I wanted to come and encourage people and let them know the state resources will be there as they need them," he says.

His next stop was at the forestry commission command center.  There, each department briefed the governor on their part in trying to get the fire underhand.  "I wanted to see how effective of a job we're doing and it's better than I had even heard," says Perdue.

From the briefing, the governor left to see first hand what the fire has done to this region, by helicopter.  "When you talk about 45,000 acres, that's really the only way you can get a perspective of how big this fire is and where it is and what's happening and where the front lines of the fire are," Perdue says. 

He also commented on his gratitude of the outpouring of support from other states, all over the southeast.  "We've been blessed to be able to give and to go in years past, and Georgia has not had a wildfire of this magnitude in many many years but I'm very pleased the compact that we've formed has worked on our behalf this time, and they've come to help us," he said.

Despite everyone's hard work, weather conditions aren't helping.  "The winds have not been cooperating unfortunately, we all need to pray for rain that's the best thing we can do," said Perdue.

The Forestry Commission agrees, wind is one of the prominent factors making fighting this fire such a challenge.  At todays briefing one official said the wind direction changes everyday making it very hard to predict where the fire will go next.

Some good news from the briefing is the Forestry Commission is looking right now at lifting the mandatory evacuation and opening some of the roads that have been shut down all week.

 

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