A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist in northwest Georgia, where wildfires have been on the increase in recent days. Georgia Forestry Commission investigators determined one fire in Walker County was deliberately set, as GFC rangers continue to respond to other fires in the area.
“There’s been no measurable rain for over a month, and conditions are critically dry,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “Seasonal leaf fall, along with sustained gusty winds, are contributing to high fire risk conditions. We’re recommending any planned outdoor burning be postponed for now.”
The Walker County fire started on October 21 and has burned an estimated 706 acres. The fire escaped original containment lines on November 2 and remains active. Fire breaks have been established around the entire perimeter. This fire is burning in steep and rocky terrain, making tractor/dozer operations limited for direct attack.
On Saturday, November 4, Walker County Chairman Shannon Whitfield issued a 45-day burn ban for the county as extremely dry conditions continue to pose the threat of large, dangerous wildfires, as well as create an environment for residential debris burns to escape and spread out of control.
The GFC is reminding the public that even fires that appear to be extinguished can reignite.
Georgia burners are legally responsible for their own fires and any damage they may cause.
Georgia Forestry Commission Law Enforcement reports the fire off Highway 157 in Walker County was the result of arson. Investigators are asking for help with any information related to the person or people responsible for this fire. The Georgia Arson Control Program offers rewards of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Anyone with knowledge of this incident should contact the GFC at 1-800-GA-TREES (478-7337).
For information about wildfire safety and fire risks in your county, go to GaTrees.org or call the local GFC office.
According to GFC the fire is fully contained as of yesterday. Firefighters are reinforcing the containment lines today. The fire is still burning, but contained. It is estimated at approximately 250 acres.
The wildfire on Lookout burns into Sunday night while the Georgia Forestry Commission continues to work the blaze. J103 FM’s main tower and 102.7 tower was affected by the fire which started Saturday morning. Kimberly George of the Christian station said, “While we do not yet know the full extent of the damage, the wildfire is keeping J103 from broadcasting on the airways. Its engineers are working to assess the damage and make all of the repairs as soon as it is safe to work in the area.” Justin Wade, the J103 President, said, “Please join us in praying for the safety of local residents, our firefighters, and first responders, as well as our broadcast equipment and tower.” “In the meantime, you can listen to J103 through our station stream or J103 app for iPhone and Android.” To make donations to help with expenses, please visit www.J103.com. The fire has now stretched around 20 acres and is located off Highway 157 and Tower Road. Georgia Forestry Commission says the fire does not pose a threat to homes or businesses on Sunday night. Some small structures and utility sheds have been under threat throughout.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety (GSP) Aviation units have been assisting the Georgia Forestry Commission with a fire on the mountain in the Cooper Heights/High Point Communities in Walker County. GSP helicopters have been retrieving water for water drop operations from an address on Highway 193. The City of LaFayette Fire Department has also been providing mutual aid support for the Georgia Forestry Commission water drop operations. The GFC plane landed at the Barwick–LaFayette Airport and retrieved water from hydrants. Georgia Forestry Commission has also been fighting a wildfire in the Dade County off of Back Valley Road. According to Georgia Forestry Commission Chief Ranger Heath Morton the fire in Dade County has been contained and is still being monitored. We will post an update on the Walker County fire as soon as it is made available by officials.