by Mark Millican
Sustained winds and bright sunlight are contributing to conditions that are “very, very dangerous” for wildfires to break out in much of North Georgia, Gilmer EMA/Fire Chief Tony Pritchett said Friday afternoon.
“It creates a low relative humidity,” he said. “We haven’t had a large outbreak (of fires) yet, but we’ve had a few here and there.”
Pritchett reported fire crews responded to an outdoors blaze of 7 to 8 acres in Wishon Valley off Boardtown Road Thursday evening.
“We really hope people take the right measures (to keep from starting a wildfire), because it’s a ticking time bomb,” he said. “Conditions are right for a bad wildfire.”
Pritchett said the U.S. Forest Service had a planned burn for Friday of around 4,000 acres near Springer Mountain on the county’s east side that has since been cancelled, but the Georgia Forestry Commission is currently burning a small tract of around 150 acres off Flat Branch Road. He said that is likely the smoke people are seeing from Highlands shopping center and the top of Howard Simmons Road across 515 from Highlands.
Pritchett was not optimistic about rainfall Friday evening.
“I think our chance may have passed us up,” he lamented.
More dry weather is predicted for Saturday and Sunday, but The Weather Channel is forecasting an 70 percent chance of rain for Monday.