Dry conditions contribute to busy fire season

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

June 12, 2011

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Wildfires are still kindling in southern Georgia as drought conditions prolong what's already been the state's busiest fire season in years.

The Georgia Forestry Commission says 8,500 wildfires have burned more than 93,000 acres, or about 145 square miles, statewide in the past year. And while the wildfire season typically starts to subside after May, new fires are still igniting.

Officials say 47 new fires started in southeast Georgia last week, with most started by lightning. Meanwhile, a fire in the Okefenokee Swamp has burned another 250 square miles.

Alan Dozier, the Forestry Commission's fire chief, says the agency's 400 firefighters are being forced to cancel vacations.

Georgia state climatologist David Stooksbury says it's unlikely south Georgia will see significant rain to snuff the fires until at least mid-August.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.)

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