Dry conditions fuel fires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dry conditions fuel fires

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

July 20, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - We're halfway through the summer, and more often than not, firefighters are being called out to get out of control grass fires, under control.

It's a sign of how dry it is here in southwest Georgia.

"It's very hot and it's very dry and we do need some rain so it's very easy for an little control burn to get out of control," said Captain Marty Leverett, Albany Fire Department.

Recent rains have helped to lower the fire danger in the Albany area to moderate, but extreme caution is still urged when burning outside.

"Anytime you want to burn something, you need to contact the Georgia Forestry Commission and let them know that you're going to be burning. In some instances they're going to issue you a permit if one is required," said Leverett.

And when you burn anything outside it has to be yard debris, but always have a garden hose, or some type of extinguishing agent nearby.

"That's the way they get out of control, people start a fire burning leaves and pine straw. People tend to leave it when they think that it's out, and in fact it's not out," said Leverett.

Right now the rainfall deficit in the Albany area is just above eight inches. Normal rainfall for this time of the year is 32 inches so far we recieved 24.

Even with the recent rains it is still dry here in southwest Georgia. A trailer fire on Saturday is believed to have set more than an acre and a half of land around it on fire.

The fire burned the grass, charred trees, and was still smoking on Sunday.

Lee County firefighters are not sure how it started, but the advice for preventing something like this from spreading is easy to follow.

"Anytime you got a fire like that burning and you're going to leave it go ahead and put it out completely with you garden hose before you leave it."

According to firefighters, people don't realize they are responsible for any damage caused by an out of control fire.

If you're planning to burn, remember it has to be put completely out one hour before it gets dark.

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