All clear locally, but remain vigilant, says fire marshal
If you are smelling smoke today, it is probably drifting into Pickens County from surrounding areas.
Fire Marshal Curtis Clark said Monday morning there is nothing burning here at this time, but “we’ve got fires all around - in Gilmer, Cherokee and a large woodland fire in the Cohutta wilderness area.”
He said even in the areas where they have the fire contained, it is so dry the decayed matter in the ground and roots are still smoldering and it’s impossible to put them out completely. He said they could spring back to life two days later as the ground is so dry.
While you may have a faint smell of smoke all day, Clark urges anyone who believes they see or smell heavier smoke to call 911 immediately to give crews the chance to get a jump on anything before it can ignite.
The fire marshal reminded the public there is a burning ban in place across north Georgia due to the drought.
There have only been a few incidents where Clark has responded to outdoor burning.
“Fortunately people here are heeding all the warnings,” he said. He said residents in Pickens have also been very good about calling in the little things so they can be contained quickly as the drought has all the woodlands at risk.
Clark said in his career as a fire fighter and fire marshal he has never seen conditions this prime for fires in the woods.