Pearson, GA (WALB) –Dangerous driving conditions in several south Georgia counties this morning. Smoke from that wildfire coupled with dense fog blanketed roads and highways. There were at least five separate car crashes and several roads in five counties were closed.
It was a fairly clear afternoon on Highway 82 between Pearson and Willacoochee, but this morning, it was a different story. "You couldn't see the tail lights of a car in front of you one car link ahead of you, there was zero visibility," said Phillip Acorn, GDOT Hwy Maintenance Foreman.
The fire started a week ago in the Arabia Swamp in Clinch County but due to the heavy fog and smoke DOT officials say today was the worst yet. "It was scary just getting here to it because you couldn't see around you, you couldn't see in front of you or behind you," said Acorn.
Roads were closed in five counties, due to the dangers on the roadways. DOT employee Phillip Acorn says he started getting calls about heavy smoke around 5:30 this morning and within a matter of minutes nearly six accidents had occurred. "In a matter of 30 to 45 minutes is when we got a call from the first one to the last one," said Acorn.
One of the worst, was an accident on Highway 82 involving five cars including this semi truck. "One stopped and the other was going a couple miles per hour and just bumped them," said Acorn.
But it was difficult for DOT officials to maneuver around in too, "We actually had to go in a rescue some people who couldn't see past their hood and getting them off the roadways out of the smoke and fog because it was that bad," said Craig Solomon, Communications Officer with the DOT.
DOT crews were still on the scene six hours later, cautioning traffic of possible smoke ahead due to the accident."We are waiting on the last wrecker to get this truck out of the road before we can open up the road all the way," said Acorn.
DOT caution motorists, to prepare for a similar situation tomorrow morning. They urge folks to drive slowly, and if you wake up to smoke, it may be best if you don't leave the house.
DOT officials urge anyone who has needs information on this fire to call 511.