UPDATE: North Georgia fire still burning
The latest fire in north Georgia is off Tatum Gulf Road on Lookout Mountain.
UPDATE: Fires continue to burn in Dade County Monday morning, as crews set backfire and continue to re-enforce fire breaks created late last week.
The backfires use fuel (usually in the form of downed leaves and small branches) on the ground to prevent the fire from spreading.
Crews worked throughout the night on Lookout Mountain, with the fire there only being 5% contained.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Georgia Forestry Commission responded to and extinguished 24 fires in the North Georgia area between Friday and Saturday morning. The GFC are continuing to work on four active fires in the area. Treat Mountain near Cedartown (550 acres) two on Lookout Mountain in Dade and Walker County (Cloverdale- 450 acres and Tatum Gulf - 100 acres), and one in Rocky Face (450 acres). They are working on containment of the fires and keeping a watch on other potential fires in the area.
The GFC has set up fire encroaches on homes and property to protect homes on Lookout Mountain. At this time, there has been no structure damage or evacuations.
The Fox Mountain Fire has been contained again and is currently being monitored.
PREVIOUS STORY: The latest fire in north Georgia is off Tatum Gulf Road on Lookout Mountain. Georgia Forestry crews spent all Thursday night creating breaks to contain the fire. The fire developed Thursday and crews spent the night figuring out a game plan.
"A lot of tractor work. Digging fire breaks. Had fire engines trying to do some pre-soaking," says spokesperson Seth Hawkins.
He explains the process.
"You dig up the earth and you expose that bare mineral soil, because that can't burn,” says Hawkins. “It's essentially taking the fuel away. So the fire's going to advance to the leaf litter, it gets to that dirt, and that'll kind of stop the advancement of the fire."
Thick smoke and rugged terrain made the job dangerous. And where the machines can't go, the highly trained rangers do it by hand.
“They're hiking in with shovels and rakes and digging it out by hand. They'll dig out 6-foot-wide strips by hand down through the woods. It's tough work," adds Hawkins.
The fire hasn't come close to David Harris' vacation home yet, but the smoke has been too close for comfort.
"The firemen up here had everything secured around the house. They dug some kind of trench around the house, a fire break, so it wouldn't come closer to the house," says Harris.
He grabbed one thing out of the house at his wife's request, just in case the fire spreads.
"Wedding pictures. Yep. Nothing else. Everything else can be replaced," adds Harris.
Meanwhile, crews will do everything possible to keep the fire under control. This includes calling teams from western states who have more experience with widespread fires. They helped recently with the Cohutta Wilderness fire in north Georgia.
"They bring multi-state teams, that's how that works. That's what a lot of the western fires end up being because of the sheer volume and sheer ground you have to cover," says Hawkins.
Despite all the hard work, there's really only one thing that will help the longer-than-normal fire season.
"Until we get substantial rain, it's going to stay that way,” adds Hawkins. “We're going to keep on chasing fires."
Georgia Forestry crews will continue to adjust how they attack this fire as wind conditions change through the weekend. As of Friday afternoon the size of the fire is unknown, but no mandatory evacuations have been ordered yet.