Dynamite found, firefighters battle wildfires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dynamite found, firefighters battle wildfires

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An unexpected danger for firefighters battling huge fires in Ware County.

They discovered dynamite in the Okefenokee Swamp Park.

A bomb squad from Fort Stewart blew up hundreds of sticks of dynamite.

It was likely there since construction on the park began in the 1940's but it was just one more obstacle in the difficult battle firefighters have been waging for months.

Fire and smoke fills ware county but thankfully not in the Okefenokee Swamp Park. Over the weekend, eight cases containing 339 sticks of dynamite were found in a bunker next to the bear cage. It could've been left over from 1940's when the park was first constructed.

"It was considered just another tool of construction in those days," said Rudy Evenson, the Georgia Forestry Commission public information officer.

A bomb squad from Fort Stewart assessed the dynamite Sunday evening, poured acetone on it to stabilize it Monday. Then they moved the dynamite, blew it up in a hole about a mile and half away.

"It's an explosive, so it's definitely a hazardous situation for this to be on the fire line so this is the safest way to remove that hazard," said Evenson.

More fires are igniting in the area. The windmill fire was detected Monday.  It flared up and charred 15 acres as a result of a re burn, making it total of 103 acres. That's small compared to other fires. DOT workers were on the dozers.

"Once they pass they leave these berms, there's a lot of heat in the berms and that can cause reburns," said Brad Whybark, a Kentucky forest ranger.

These firebreaks are what was initially plowed. Monday firefighters battled the blaze and now that they have it under control they're in the process of watering down that fire and widening these breaks.

The 24/7 operation continues crews from all over the country and even Canada have come to South Georgia to help.

Firefighters need rain to help put out the fires, but they worry lightning from thunderstorms will start more fires.

As pine needles fall that could also cause more fires to flare up.


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