BUFORD, Ga. -- Drivers in northern Gwinnett County dealt with major slowdowns along I-85 after a semi-truck fire in the area.
The truck, a car carrier, apparently caught fire in in the southbound lanes near Hamilton Mill Road around 2:30 p.m. The resulting fire has blocked all southbound lanes.
"It appears the truck might have had some sort of malfunction that caused the fire," said Gwinnett Deputy Fire Chief Charles Wells. "The truck driver didn't realize he was on fire. He was just spreading fire down the interstate not realizing what was going on."
It also spawned several brush fires in the area that spanned about 110 acres - some of which jumped into a nearby median and slowed down traffic as well.
The blaze grew to a point that Georgia Forestry rangers had to bring in three bulldozers to dig a fire break and prevent the flames form spreading any further.
Gwinnett Fire and local Georgia Forestry Rangers were also joined by Gwinnett County Police and their aviation unit as well as the Georgia Department of transportation in logistical and traffic efforts near the scene.
Overall 37 firefighters were brought to the scene.
"As dry as we have been and the drought that we are experiencing now, it takes very little to get a fire moving. A light breeze it can move very rapidly," Wells said.
Fire crews appear to have gotten the blaze under control but plan to remain on the scene overnight to monitor hotspots.
"I haven't seen anything this bad in quite some time," said Wells.
Officials are reminding the public that they will likely still smell and see smoke in the area due to several deep-seated fires within the fire break itself.
Officials also used the situation as a reminder to the public that the Georgia Forestry Commission has implemented a temporary suspension of all burning in Gwinnett and four other nearby counties.