Wildfires still a threat - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Wildfires still a threat

May 15, 2008

Albany -- Beneath the smoke filled skies of central Florida, warm, dry conditions have given way to wildfires. What appears to be the work of arsonists, the fires have spread to several counties and consumed thousands of acres of land.

South Georgia has not witnessed wide spread wildfires this year - but forestry officials say there is still a threat.

"They (conditions) are not quite as bad as they were last year. But if we don't get some adequate rainfall very shortly, we're going to be right back like we were," said Dougherty County Chief Ranger Deanna Pietras.

Just last year, over 100,000 acres of land was scorched by fast spreading Georgia wildfires. This was during a time that witnessed little to no significant rainfall - and is a situation much of south Georgia is currently facing today.

"As you can tell, vegetation is already drying out. And our fires have started to increase on a daily basis," says Pietras.

So far, rainfall totals for the month of May are well below an inch in several locations. And with warm, dry weather now upon us - adequate rainfall is a must.

Pietras says, "It's getting very critical right now. And we've been missing the last few rains that have coming through in this area. We're really in a deficit right now."

Forestry officials urge anyone planning to burn to contact them about conditions and getting a permit before doing so.

For more information on dry conditions and burning permits, click on the link below.

Georgia Forestry Commission

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