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WILDFIRE WATCH

Georgia Forestry Commission working to spread fire prevention information

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A special team from the Georgia Forestry Commission is sharing important fire prevention information with the local community.

As thousands of acres burn across Georgia, GFC officials are making personal connections in an effort to keep people and properties safe.

"We can come to your special event, your meetings, clubs, festivals, wherever locals are gathering," said Mark Wiles, Team Leader. "We want you to know about strategies that can be used to prepare for possible evacuation and making your home more resistant to fire. These are real life tools that can help you get ready if you are in the path of a wildfire," Wiles said.

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Officials say the ongoing drought in Georgia has contributed to a number of wildfires, especially in the northern region and into bordering states.

The GFC has responded to 1,937 wildfires in the state so far this year.

"People should not be lighting any kind of fire outdoors right now," said Wiles. "One tiny spark from a campfire or a tossed cigarette, coupled with the wind, can quickly lead to a raging fire."

Officials say the fire prevention team is disseminating information from the Firewise USA program, which teaches communities how to construct neighborhoods that are resistant to wildfire.

A few techniques that can be applied include

  • clearing debris from a home's roof, gutters and decks 
  • removing flammable items from under decks and from within 30 feet of any structure
  • pruning low hanging branches from trees
  • clearing dry grasses and plants from the landscape

More information about Firewise USA safety practices can be found here

Officials say the prevention team also provides instruction on the "Ready. Set. Go." program, which teaches families what to pack ahead of time for an emergency evacuation.  

MOREUPDATE: Georgia fires continue to burn at alarming rate

"We're here in Rome until Sunday, November 13," said Wiles, and we want to share as much information with as many people as possible. These wildfires are dangerous and we want to help everyone stay safe."

The team will relocate to Helen, GA from November 13-19.

To contact the fire prevention team, send an email to: northcoosafirepreventionteam@gmail.com.

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