WALKER COUNTY, Ga. — Firefighters from across the state are battling several wildfires in northwest Georgia, including one in Walker County that’s burned more than 700 acres.
The fire, just off Georgia Highway 157, started Oct. 21 and is the largest wildfire in the state, forestry officials said.
Mountainous terrain and extremely dry conditions have posed challenges for firefighters.
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“We’re in steep terrain,” Gabe Outlaw, a spokesman for the Georgia Forestry Commission said. “Access can be an issue, getting to the fire can be an issue.”
Investigators say arson caused the fire, but they have not said how it was ignited.
It’s one of five fires, each more than 50 acres in size, burning across Walker and Dade counties in the northwestern corner of the state.
About a dozen firefighters are battling the blaze.
They’re using bulldozers to dig fire breaks, or containment lines, around the fire.
They’re also setting controlled burns to remove dead leaves and other fuel.
Falling leaves are a frustration for firefighters, prompting them to use leaf blowers to clear leaves off the containment lines. Outlaw said the fire is about 50 percent contained and it’s not threatening any homes or structures.
Crews have used water trucks to douse the flames, but Outlaw said the best source of water comes from above.
“The forecast shows some rain for this coming weekend,” he said. “So we are certainly hoping and praying for that.”
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Walker County has imposed a 45-day outdoor burning ban.
Outlaw said as parched as it is in the region now, burning outdoors can pose a serious hazard.
“Being careful with outdoor burning, campfires, and even grills,” he said. “I would encourage people to be very, very vigilant when doing any burning.”
He said since Monday, 36 new wildfires have been reported across the state.
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