Over the last few days with temperatures hovering around the century mark and heavy afternoon thunderstorms gathering spots the risk for fires has grown to an extremely high level. Georgia Forestry folks are asking everyone to be cautious with burning debris piles as the conditions persist.
“We have had a few lightning fires in Clinch County over the last several days but nothing in Ware, Brantley or Pierce so far, thankfully,” said Bo Chesser, district forest ranger. “With the increase in temperatures and clear skies, in the event of an escaped debris pile and lightning from passing afternoon thunderstorms, fire behavior is erratic.”
Chesser asks everyone to use extreme caution, especially in areas south of U.S. 82 that are affected by drought conditions.
“We have had some pretty good rain north of 82, but places south of 82 in Charlton and Clinch and south Ware, we still have drought conditions,” Chesser said. “The north district is fairly wet and we have been able to bring in folks from the north portion to help us patrol the south because of increased fire activity there.”
Chesser said southeast Georgia has been fortunate to not have any sizeable fires, especially since the month of June was extremely busy for crews.
“Usually when we reach July, we see a few months with lesser activity historically and we were happy to June to end and July to arrive,” said Chesser.
Everyone who smokes is asked to make sure and discard cigarette butts in the proper manner, making sure the fire is out and not to throw them alongside roadways where grass is dry and brittle, said Chesser.
More heat and heavy thunderstorms have been forecast for the next week. Chesser urges everyone to be careful and keep an eye out for those afternoon clouds that can build quickly into severe thunderstorms with dangerous lightning.