Roundabout Swamp Fire intensifies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Roundabout Swamp Fire intensifies

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May 2, 2007

Kirkland --  The Roundabout Swamp Fire in Atkinson County continues to intensify.  Five Thousand acres have been scorched since Friday when the fire ignited along Lazy Nine Road. 

You can see several columns of smoke, those are intense areas that continue to burn as the swamp where this fire is contained keeps feeding this fire.

In the middle of the Roundabout Swamp today flames burned nearly 12 feet high.  The fire is intensifying. "We do continue to reinforce that line and we're doing everything we can to keep the fire contained within 82 so it doesn't cross," said Susan Reisch, GA Forestry Commission Public Information Officer.

As night falls, this plume fire is worse. Local residents can hear a boom as the fire flares up.

"Toward the evening hours, as the plume reaches a certain height it starts to crystallize and then it collapses, and once it immediately collapses it's very dangerous to be down on the ground because it spreads the fire out and around about 360º," said Reisch.

The Georgia Forestry Commission continues to cut breaks around the swamp to keep the fire contained and aerial flights are helping with spot-overs, but dry conditions are just salt in an already bad wound.

 "When it's so dry winds really isn't a factor these are fuel driven fires and the fuel is just so dry it will burn towards the fuel," said SC Forestry Commission Safety Officer Cecil Campbell.

The Georgia Forestry Commission says it will take an act of mother nature to make conditions in Atkinson County any better. "Normally, this time of year everything has greened up  and it's full of water and  the fire's not really  going to burn in it," said Campbell.

In fact, according to the Forestry Commission they would need 10 inches of rain in Atkinson County to really help this fire, and that would only help, they say the fire would still smolder because of the intense heat that's burning underground.

Winds in Atkinson County have been blowing out of the north today, sending smoke from the fire towards counties south of Atkinson.

Headlights were barely visible yesterday along Highway 82.  Today there was a little haze, but otherwise visibility was greatly improved.  All state highways in Atkinson County were open to motorists today.  The Georgia Department of Transportation could close those highways again tonight if smoke concerns arise.

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