The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) has issued a warning about the increased risk of wildfires in the region. Recent dry conditions, falling leaves, persistent winds, and abundant sunshine have created a heightened risk of wildfires. KWN Chief Meteorologist, Patrick Core, has noted that this has been the second driest Fall on record.
The GFC has been responding to a growing number of wildfires that have proven challenging to contain. With no rain in the current weather forecast, the risk of wildfires is further amplified by these dry and windy conditions, which have the potential to reignite previous hot spots and spark new dangerous blazes.
To help residents stay informed about fire activity in their area, the Georgia Forestry Commission has made a valuable online fire tracking tool available for public viewing at https://georgiafc.firesponse.com/public/. Residents are encouraged to check the tool and contact their local Georgia Forestry Commission office for inquiries about burning permits specific to their location. Most north Georgia counties are currently not issuing permits for agricultural or land clearing burns due to the heightened fire risk.
It’s essential to note that state law prohibits outdoor burning when the fire danger or fire danger forecast is rated as high (Class 4 or Class 5). Individuals who engage in outdoor burning are responsible for the safety of their fires and any resulting damage.
Georgia experiences over 2,300 wildfires on average each year, with an average size of seven acres per fire. The personnel of the GFC are on standby, ready to respond to wildfires 24/7, 365 days a year.
In an update on the wildfires in Walker County, the GFC reports that the fire on the east side of Highway 157 near Tower Road broke free from containment lines, resulting in its expansion from 300 to 1,400 acres. At present, the fire is 50% contained.
A total of 15 personnel are currently assigned to manage the fire, but its location in steep and rocky terrain limits the effectiveness of tractor and dozer operations. Efforts to protect structures in the valley below the fire have been made through fireline improvements.
The fire off of Payne Chapel Road has been successfully contained.
The Georgia Forestry Commission has assured that they will notify Walker County in the event of necessary evacuations or requests for fire department assistance. While the GFC is responsible for managing wildland fires, Walker County Fire Rescue’s primary role is to safeguard structures when called upon.
Residents are encouraged to stay vigilant and adhere to fire safety guidelines to help mitigate the risk of wildfires during these dry and windy conditions. Your cooperation is essential in preserving the safety of our communities and the beautiful forests of North Georgia.