Threat for Georgia wildfires increasing - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Threat for Georgia wildfires increasing

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A large brush fire along I-24 in May was sparked by an ATV wheel that fell off a truck onto very dry ground. It spread fast from Georgia into Chattanooga.

Chief Randy Camp of Walker County Emergency services, along with the Georgia Forestry Commission, say recent fires in northwest Georgia have started due a combination of carelessness and the dry weather. The area is in the Severe Drought category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"The humidity being low takes the moisture out of the material," explains Camp. "It has the setting right now for a very high danger of fire."

Camp says don't throw lit cigarettes out your car window. It only take much to spark a blaze.

Unattended campfires are probably the leading problem this time of year. Before leaving the grounds or climbing into your tent for the night, throw enough water on the fire to put it out completely in order to keep your family out of danger.

"A fire last week that burned for several days on Lookout Mountain was a camping fire that people just left," adds Camp. "They left it burning."

Also be careful using machinery or legally burning materials on your property. Walker County is under a burn ban for a few more months, but Camp says even if there's no ban in your northwest Georgia county to please hold refrain from burning until the area gets some rain.

"It would be best to wait until the humidity gets up and the conditions are not this critical," says Camp.

Also, grilling season is in full swing. So don't get burned at your next cookout.

"Don't throw your charcoal and things like that away. Let it sit in the grill and completely burn out," urges Camp.

Wildfires are not like the average house fire. Rugged terrain and wind put firefighters at an elevated risk. Paying attention and using common sense can keep them, you, and your community safer.

"The speed at which the fire can gain on you. Wind conditions can make it worse," says Camp.

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