RABUN COUNTY, Ga. -- The state's largest wildfire is now 30 percent contained, but the shifting winds have put another area in danger.
Rabun County and U.S. Forest Service officials said that the Rock Mountain fire has already caused new pre-evacuation orders and road closures.
As of Friday afternoon, 18 crews of more than 550 people and 19 engines were working the fire, now at 9,382 acres in size. Five resources are also aiding in the fire fight and one airplane. Two bulldozers are being used to clear fire breaks.
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Areas under pre-evacuation notices include:
- Patterson Gap
- Hap N So Lane
- Tarheel Lane
- Betty's Creek
- Tom Wilson
- Byes Lane
- High Darnell Road
- Almond Lane
- Outback Lane
- Hambidge Ct.
- Messer Creek Rd
- Scottarosa Lane
- Sassafras Lane
- Willow Lane
- Red Bird Lane
- Asa Cove Lane
- Barkers Creek Lane
- Big Creek Rd
- Andy's Trout Farm Lane
- Hazel Lane
- Mimosa Lane
- Bob Justice Lane
- Magnolia Lane
- Coleman River Road
- Nichols Branch Road
- Plum Orchard community
Road and trail closures have also been announced for the following:
- Charlies Creek Road off of Tallulah River Road
- Tallulah River Road
- The Appalachian Trail between Dicks Cree Gap, Ga. and Rock Gap, N.C.
Local forecasts call for strong winds in the area of Betty's Creek which may intensify the nearby Rock Mountain Fire. If the current forecast is accurate, residents should prepare now to evacuate, as wind-driven wildfires can move quickly and move erratically.
If an evacuation is called, a shelter will be established at Liberty Baptist Church at 2206 Bridge Creek Road, in Tiger, Ga.
Residents can protect their homes and prepare for evacuation by following the steps outlined in the Ready Set, Go program.
Rabun County Emergency Management also recommends:
- Blowing leaves away from homes
- Removing all dead limbs from the yard
- Cleaning gutters
- Cutting all limbs touching homes
- Having an evacuation and phone plan in place
Fire crews have been battling the Rock Mountain fire since Nov. 9 where it began in the Straw Mountain area and is believed to have been intentionally set.
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