Rabun County wildfire loses intensity as rain approaches

Firefighters: Rabun wildfire losing intensity

CLAYTON, GA -- Firefighters say they are now having their greatest success battling a three-week old wildfire in northeast Georgia that spans more than 25,000 acres.

A forecast of rain is one of a couple of pieces of good news firefighters in Rabun County have had over the last two days.

The other welcome news came Sunday night when firefighters say they established a fire perimeter around much of the wildfire. They did it by burning leaves alongside creeks and roads and other natural barriers, then "mopping" the set fire, depriving the wildfire of fuel.

"Yesterday was the big day," said Kale Casey Monday, spokesman for the team fighting the fire.  "We had pretty much 48 hours of nonstop burnouts on fire lines. Yesterday at 1730 (GMT), 5:30pm (Eastern time), the last piece of open fire line was secured with a burnout just like this," he said, gesturing to blacked-out terrain that had been burned the previous day.

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It was a tense holiday weekend for some residents.

"It was scary as hell watching the fire come down that mountain," said Craig Burkhalter, who nonetheless says he never had to evacuate his home. "We’ve been expecting it to hit us for days, and it came like I said within ten or twenty yards of the house."

Whatever rain comes over the next few days will not end the threat of wildfire. Firefighters expect to be stationed here in northeast Georgia through the end of December. 

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