Fox Mountain fire 95 percent contained in Alabama
October 19, 2016
Southern Torch (3399 articles)
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Fox Mountain fire 95 percent contained in Alabama

PHOTO: The Fox Mountain fire has burned a total of 1,971 acres in Alabama and Georgia combined. (Wildfire | USFWS/Southeast)

By C. Campbell, Staff Writer

cody@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — This fall, north Alabama is suffering from one of the most severe droughts in recent history. This has presented a severe problem, as a wildfire has been raging across DeKalb County, as well as Dade County in Georgia.

Officially referred to as the ‘Fox Mountain Fire,’ this blaze began burning in Dade County early in October, but crossed the border into Alabama about a week after the first ignition.

“According to the last reports I’ve seen, about 500 acres here in Alabama have burned,” said Terry Ezzell, the North Region Forester of the Alabama Forest Service.

Thankfully, Ezzell estimated that approximately 95% of the fire in Alabama had been contained, thanks to the usage of fire lines. In order to successfully create a fire line, “You have to clear any burnable fuel from a certain area. Most of the time, we use bulldozers to do so, but some places have been cleared by hand.”

He added that, to assist as needed, some resources had come up from South Alabama, including bulldozer crews and trucks with mounted water tanks.

Similarly, Seth Hawkins, the Public Information Officer regarding the fire with the Georgia Forestry Commission, reported that the amount burned by the Fox Mountain blaze in both Alabama and Georgia totalled 1,971 acres.

Hawkins also described some of the main issues facing those trying to fight the fire. “There were no real issues with resources. The big problem has been the topography of the area.” In addition, some of the areas burned by the fire still contained downed trees and other similar debris that remained from the tornadoes of April 2011. This debris, after laying out in the sun, drying for five years, was just that much more fuel to burn up and add to the destruction.

Both Hawkins and Ezzell described the cooperation between Georgia and Alabama resources in fighting the Fox Mountain fire. “Since the fire started in Georgia, they’ve been in charge of running the command, but as of Monday (October 17th), control of the DeKalb sector was handed over to Alabama,” Ezzell said.

In addition, a helicopter from Georgia has been making water drops in Alabama to help combat and contain the flames. At the same time, Hawkins made mention of how two bulldozer crews from Alabama had been working to create fire lines in Georgia during the peak period of the fire.

While the Fox Mountain Fire may not be the raging inferno it was a week ago, it is still not completely out. Ezzell, Hawkins, and Anthony Clifton, the DeKalb County EMA all stressed for people to be cautious and to use common sense.

Clifton and Ezzell emphasized the fact that Governor Bentley declared a drought emergency for north Alabama, thus banning all outdoor burning until the emergency was lifted. While Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has not issued such a declaration, Hawkins explained that Georgia was issuing burn bans on a county by county basis, and that virtually all of northwest Georgia had banned outdoor burning for the current time.

Furthermore, all three said how what was needed most was a really good rainfall, though cautioned that, no matter how much of a downpour falls in the area, the public shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking it would be ok to do some burning after the rain.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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