Swamp fire could affect Thanksgiving travel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Swamp fire could affect Thanksgiving travel

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email 

CLINCH COUNTY, GA (WALB) –There's concern Monday night about how a south Georgia swamp fire will affect Thanksgiving travel.

The fire in Clinch County has charred nearly 2,000 acres in two weeks.

A thick mixture of smoke and fog continues to shut down roads.

And with extra traffic this week, officials want you to be extra careful on the highways.

On the south end of the Arabia bay lie piles of trees and smoke.

"It'll burn the root system from the trees and you can see the trees lying out here almost the entire root system is still there," said Paul Robertson, an Arabia Bay public information officer. "It'll burn the trees from underneath it on the ground."

It's day 13 of the fire and more than 1,700 acres of the swamp have burned. Crews worked on the northeastern side Monday improving the line.

"We have heavy equipment out there with bulldozers with fire plows attached and we had a drum, a logging operation drum, that were using to knock down some of the vegetation so crews could get out there on foot," said Robertson.

The fire continues to burn here at Arabia Bay and if you were out on the roads 
Monday morning anywhere near this wildfire you could barely see the cars in front of you.

Jenny Bruner with the Georgia Forestry Commission was on her way to their staging area on Highway 122. She said she stayed close to the white lines on the side of the road Monday morning because that was just about the only thing she could see.

"The smoke was very heavy and low to the ground and was very thick," said Bruner. "It may have been zero visibility."

And if you're traveling for Thanksgiving this week in south Georgia, officials want you to be prepared for smoke.

"It's good to have an alternate route," said Lisa Janak with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. "Go ahead and bring a map in case your GPS conks out it's always good to have a back up plan."

And keep that plan b handy because the fire is expected to burn all five thousand acres of the swamp which means the dangerous smoke on the road will continue.

The DOT expects low visibility on some roads this week and possibly longer. We'll keep you updated on road closures and detours here on walb.com.


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