Severe drought conditions in Georgia lead to spike in wildfires

Firefighters prepared for bad wildfire season amid drought

GEORGIA — Severe drought conditions in Georgia have led to a spike in wildfires.

The Georgia Forestry Commission told Channel 2 Action News that there were 626 wildfires in September. That's over 300% higher than the five-year average for September.

"Quite literally, we are living in a tinderbox throughout the state," Georgia Forestry Commission spokesperson Wendy Burnett said.

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While there's no statewide outdoor burn ban, the Forestry Commission is granting far fewer burn permits.

"We are assessing conditions county by county each and every day. We look at everything from humidity, wind directions, speed and that last time there was any moisture on the ground," Burnett said.


The Barrow County Fire Department said it is gearing up for an increased risk of wildfires throughout the fall.

"Citizens think, 'I'm just going to burn this little leaf pile,' and that little leaf pile will grow into big things very quickly. We've had them grow to an acre, acre and a half in just minutes. On a windy day like this, it would grow even faster," Capt. Scott Dagan said.

Dagan said until Georgia gets some significant rain, people should not burn outside.

If individuals get a permit to do so, they should never leave a fire unattended and should have a way to extinguish it quickly within reach.