Drought causes safety concern for firefighters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Drought causes safety concern for firefighters

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Safety becomes a big concern for homeowners and even rescue workers as dry conditions continue across south Georgia. Almost daily, firefighters are called out to battle brush fires which will only continue unless conditions change soon.

Fire fighters say now is a time to take extra precautions because land is so parched. When smoke gets this thick, safety is a big concern for people and firefighters.

" The smoke is thick, and you could get tangled up in barbed wire fences, step in a hole and break a leg, and the fire could turn on you," said AFD Fire Captain Tony Denby.

Capt. Denby and his crew have to be careful fighting those fires when the Georgia Forestry Department is out cutting breaks with heavy equipment

"Their visibility is also very low, and the machinery is loud, so you have to be real aware of where you are," Denby noted.

The wind could shift quickly. Saturday firefighters and Georgia Forestry crews had to cut breaks after a 10 acre fire broke out behind the Miller Coors Plant on McCollum drive. AFD had to come out to Sweetbrier drive after flames reached feet from Maurice Smith's home. He thinks thrown-out charcoals from a cookout may have sparked the blaze.

"It would have been pretty bad if it had touched our house," said Smith.

No one was hurt. Capt. Denby says three main factors influence wild land fires.  Natural such as like lighting, unintentional like throwing out hot charcoal or not fully distinguishing a camp fire, and intentional such as leaving burning leaves unattended.

Captain Denby urges people to be very careful when camping, grilling, or burning brush, since fires can ignite quickly on dry ground.

The fire captain says this time of year kids are responsible for sparking some fires since they're out of school and may have less supervision.

AFD says a lot of the calls are out in the county were there's more land, and water is scarce. That's why fire officials urge folks to practice extra caution right now.

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