Firefighters battling blazes in the CSRA thanks to wind from 'Sandy'

Superstorm Sandy is bringing strong winds to the area, which is adding fuel to fires. (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- We may not be feeling the rain and snow from "Superstorm Sandy," but we are certainly feeling the wind. And, the wind, coupled with dry weather, is causing problems for firefighters.

We've seen several severe house fires in the CSRA the past few days, including one that turned fatal.

On Tuesday morning, firefighters fought a blaze started by an unattended pot of grease on Boykin Road in Augusta. The fire quickly turned into a roaring blaze.

Chief Phil Napier with the GVW Fire Department in Graniteville says they've been dealing with similar problems: "The wind helps dry everything out, and the wind will spread fire just extremely fast."

GVW firefighters worked a mobile home fire Monday night that quickly got out of hand.

"There were flames shooting 30 foot out the trailer and it was endangering a neighboring trailer because of the wind," Napier said.

Over the weekend, the wind accelerated another house fire in Augusta, killing an elderly man inside.

And house fires aren't the only problem. With dry leaves on the ground and little rain in sight, the wind from Sandy is making brush fires a problem, too.

Chief Forestry Ranger Larry Felix says, "Had one yesterday off Harlem Grovetown Rd where the fire was a little difficult to control, in fact, we contained it one time and it got back out."

Firefighters say even just a spark in these conditions can turn into a huge blaze.

"With the excessive winds we're having right now, that can really help push a fire and cause a lot more damage," Felix said.

They say the quicker you react, the better.

"Don't hesitate to call 911, we had much rather respond to something that is small and that can be extinguished quickly, then to get there and it's coming out the windows and the roof," Napier said.

There is a burn ban for the entire area until conditions change.