UPDATE: Brush fire continues to burn in Walker County
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -
UPDATE: A brush fire in Walker County continues to grow and has burned 477 acres as of Friday morning and is 80% contained.
Most of the burned acreage is on forest service land and i
Crews from Georgia Forestry Commission and U.S. Forest Service, including a bulldozer and two helicopters are still on sight fighting the blaze.
Officials urge everyone to be very cautious about setting any fires, including campfires and grills. There is not a burn ban in place and burn permits are being issued on a limited basis.
There is some concern about the impact of stronger winds from Hurricane Matthew. Stronger winds could increase the chance of fire spreading if any embers get caught up in a breeze and taken somewhere else.
PREVIOUS STORY: Crews continue fighting a large brush fire in Walker County.
Officials were called to a 20-acre fire Wednesday morning. That has now grown to 150-acres and could keep spreading.
It's still unclear what started the fire. Firefighters said they have the flames under control, but neighbors are still worried about losing their homes.
At the foot of Strawberry Mountain, Allen Turner's typically quiet home now feels more like a disaster zone.
"Helicopters flying, airplanes flying, trucks and bulldozers going every which way. It's just been chaos," Turner described.
His family owns most of the land that's now going up in smoke.
"Our little 94 acres of paradise," he said.
The brush fire in Walker County sparked early Wednesday morning and continues to spread.
Large clouds of smoke could be seen from miles away.
"Trying to breathe is the biggest thing," Turner said.
"This is bad," his wife, Sharon agreed.
"The smoke is pretty hard on my asthma," said resident Wanda Lee. "We were told we may even have to evacuate tonight because of the smoke."
On Wednesday evening, officials told Eyewitness News the fire was "contained."
Residents like Lee hope it remains under control.
"It's pretty nerve-racking," she said. "I have walked the floor, and walked the porch, and walked the driveway and everything else, prayed, and asked others to pray."
But neighbors aren't leaving yet.
The Turners are staying to protect their property until officials say it's time to go.
"If they tell us to get out, we're gonna get stuff that's most important," Allen Turner said. "Insurance papers, things like that, and our cats and dogs. If we have to leave it, we're gonna leave it."
Officials tell us the brush fire is not something that will be resolved overnight. Crews expect to fight the fire for the rest of the week.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story as they become available.
A brush fire Wednesday in walker County sent crews out to battle the blaze in the recent drought conditions in the Tennessee Valley.
A release from the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) says firefighters were dispatched to the area of East Manning Mill Creek and West Manning Mill Creek on Strawberry Mountain around 1:00am.
The release says the fire was threatening property of the Cohutta Armuchee US Forest Service (USFS) Ranger District.
Walker County, Catoosa County and the U.S. Forest Service are on the scene working to extinguish the fire and construct timber lines to help fight and contain it. The crews are using helicopters from the Georgia State Patrol and U.S. Forest Service to help.
The size of the blaze was reported at 20 acres early this morning. As of 3:30pm, the GFC says it's grown to approximately 40 acres, according to the release.
The GFC says its offices are currently working a number of fires in the district, and burning permits are not being issued due to the exceptional drought in the area. All residents are advised to be diligent with any outdoor activities until the area experiences wide spread rain fall.