Ga. wildfires continue as drought reaches desert-like levels

ROCKY FACE, Ga. -- Forestry officials are warning that a dry spell on par with a desert is likely to continue - and possibly get worse - in the days to come.

With drought conditions only expected to get worse, Ranger Pat Stockett with the Georgia Forestry Commission said that the northern region of the state is maxing out the very scales they use to measure drought conditions.

"We have something called the Keetch-Byram Drought Index," Stockett said. "It's a scale that goes from 0 to 800 - 0 being pretty much the ocean and 800 being the Sahara Desert."

Stockett said that north Georgia is currently in the mid to upper 700s.

PHOTOS: Fire crews monitor fire conditions in Whitfield County

And so any little spark can be the source of a massive wild fire. And just about anything will burn.

"Things that don't normally burn are burning," she said adding that everything from twigs to large logs are being completely consumed in flames.

It was flames like these that the group was fighting in Rocky Face community of Whitfield County on Thursday night. Then, even as they were working to keep the blaze down in one place, another one sparked nearby and quickly expanded to about 30 acres.

So began operations to control yet another fire in an area already seeing its share.

With humidity dropping and winds picking up over the weekend, Stockett said that the problem is likely to get worse.

"The forecast is not looking too good," she said.

Even so, that doesn't mean the public can't help in a very simple way.

Stockett asked that the public not do any type of burning right now.

"When it's dry enough for a chain on a trailer to spark a fire, it really is too dry to be burning in your backyard," she said.

The forestry commission does issue free burn permits when conditions are favorable. But Stockett said those have been stopped for the benefit and safety of the public.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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