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Where there's smoke...

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty and north Mitchell County probably noticed a lot of smoke from a large controlled burn today.

Georgia Power is burning 100 acres of land around Plant Mitchell to protect against wildfire dangers. It's the safest and best way to maintain environmental quality in the state.

Georgia Power and Georgia Forestry Commission Rangers lit the first flame around 11:30.

 "What we're trying to accomplish is to burn the brush back. The volunteer pines that are out here. To facilitate the tree planting that we will do this winter," said Georgia Power Senior Land Forester Kym Partridge. 

The 100 acres are in the shadow of Plant Mitchell. Georgia Power owns 350 acres around the power plant. Foresters say it's important to clean burn areas like this occasionally to prevent wildfires from things such as lightning strikes.

"If you keep it under control, it won't get out of hand if there is nothing out here to burn. It won't burn," said Georgia Forestry Ranger Tommy Young.

This plot is not being used for any bio mass planting, but Georgia Power foresters manage the land so that it can be switched over if needed. Loblolly pines will be planted in a couple of months so wildlife from songbirds to deer can flourish there.

"We'll have some diversity out here on this site for wildlife. Aesthetics. Also we'll have a site that is going to be productive for the future for forestry," Partridge said.

State Foresters say green space like this is needed to keep an environmental balance in Georgia. "The way subdivisions are popping up, there is very, very little land left that's not fields for wildlife to get into. This helps it a lot," Young said.

And prescribed burning like this is recommended to keep Georgia woodland safe from wildfire and better for all wildlife.

Partridge said Georgia Power will wait until the ground has more moisture in it from winter rains, before they replant the area, probably between January and March.

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