Some landowners worry about wildfire -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Some landowners worry about wildfire

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

CLINCH COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Thick smoke enveloped parts of Southeast Georgia early Monday because of a wildfire in Clinch County.

Rangers expect it to burn all 5,000 acres of the Arabia Bay Swamp.

And some landowners worry their timber will be destroyed.

Whirling winds, smoke and fire engulf the Arabia Bay Swamp. It's been burning since Tuesday. Some surrounding pine plantations could be destroyed.

"We don't want to see anything lost," said Clay Tomlinson.

He says more than likely his family will lose their 400 acres of timber in the northern part of the bay.

"It's devastating to a small landowner because it takes upwards of 30 years to grow timber and when wildfire hits it, it's a complete loss," said Tomlinson. "There's not insurance for that, nothing. It's just gone."

The Arabia Bay caught fire in the 1930s and earlier this decade.

Hundreds of acres have already burned and rangers are hoping for a good amount of rain.

"Six plus inches is what we need," said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief Ranger Senior Buck Kline. "The swamp is very dry and it hasn't been this dry since 2001. "We're doing improvements to safety zones around the perimeter of the swamp on our eastern side. We're actually grading off some of the existing brakes directly touching the swamp to make easy access for our fire suppression equipment."

Pine plantations have been plowed, stripped, and prepped.

So far there hasn't been any major problems containing the fire to the swamp. While Clay Tomlinson hopes nothing is lost, he says wildfires are just a part of living in rural Clinch County.

A community of a dozen homes near Mizell Road on the northeastern side of the fire is not directly threatened.

Rangers tell us they have a plan in case the fire comes out of the swamp. Investigators are still trying to figure out the cause of the fire.

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