FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. -- Fire crews are continuing to monitor two brush fires that span at least three north Georgia counties and appear to be intentionally set, officials confirm.
According to Polk County officials, the fires stretch up and down Highway 27 from Floyd County to Polk County to Haralson County.
Dispatchers told 11Alive Tuesday afternoon it appeared the fires began on the side of the roadway. Earlier in the day, they say the cause seemed "suspicious," and initially said they were looking for a man who they suspect of arson. But later that night, an official with the City of Rome Fire Department said they didn't have any evidence to supports that. Officials now believe it was possibly a truck dragging a chain that kicked up sparks.
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Flames from the fire spread quickly due to the dry conditions caused by severe drought. One 11Alive viewer and reporter with the Weather Channel tweeted photos from the scene, which showed a large column of smoke near Cave Springs Road in Rome, Ga.
Firefighters had to evacuate several homes in the area as they worked to control the fire, which they said is now 90 percent contained. School officials also had to direct about 20-25 students back to one area school. Parents were notified, and all but eight have been picked up.
Two homes were damaged and a third structure containing four classic cars were destroyed. A firefighter also had to be treated for heat exhaustion.
Firefighters are still working to completely extinguish the fire, which has burned about 165 total acres. The biggest concern now is as night falls, lingering smoke will settle in and make driving conditions very hazardous.
RAW | Crews battle brush fire
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