By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Long Forestry unit urges safety on Fourth
MR long forestry
Someone from the Long County Forestry Unit building will be monitoring the area for forest fires throughout fire season. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
With the 4th of July just a few days away, crowds of people will be firing up grills or heading out to campsites. Because of all the rain Long and Liberty counties have seen this year, many revelers aren’t concerned about igniting brush fires.
However, according to Chief Ranger Derrick Duncan, supervisor of the Long County Georgia Forestry Unit, people still need to use caution and realize that the threat of a fire is always present.
“Just because we’ve had a lot of rain doesn’t mean that we can’t have a fire. The top will burn and can still spread,” Duncan said.
He urges grillers and campers to be careful with cigarettes and make sure they are extinguished properly. Anyone using a charcoal grill needs to remember after they are finished cooking to soak the coals, stir them and soak them again. Before disposing of coals, they should be checked with a bare hand to ensure they are cold to the touch.
Duncan also said people should be careful when burning anything in their yards, such as trash and leaves. A permit should always be obtained before a burn.
“People can call 545-2247 or 1-877-OK2BURN to get a permit (in Long County), and they need to make sure they do. If they don’t and they are responsible for starting a fire, they will be charged if we have to go put it out,” Duncan said.
The chief is also concerned with heat-related safety risks.
“People need to be careful when they are outside working. They need to drink plenty of water. It’s hot, and you can get busy working and not realize that you are becoming dehydrated,” he said.
According to Duncan, the Long County Forestry Unit has three rangers, one tower operator and himself on staff. They are constantly on the lookout for fires. He said someone is always observing the area from a tower Monday through Friday, but during the fire season, someone mans the post seven days a week. The area is also monitored from the air by an air patrol unit.
“We do all we can to try to stay ahead of the fires, and we also have a mutual aid agreement with the surrounding counties if we need help, or if they need help,” Duncan said.
So far, the chief said there have been 35 forest fires in Long County this year, compared with only 40 for all of 2008. But he also said that forest fires usually come in cycles and that he has seen as many as 300 during one calendar year in Long County.
“We’ve been fortunate the last two years, but everyone remembers what we had three years ago and, soon enough, we will have another bad year,” Duncan said.
Sign up for our e-newsletters