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Forestry Commission, local fire departments prepare for increased wildfire potential

The Georgia Forestry Commission is the first line of defense in the event of a wildfire / Shannon Lilly (WGXA)

WARNER ROBINS, Ga.-- Georgia is heading into its drier months, which means a greater risk for a wildfire.

Chief Ranger for the Georgia Forestry Commission Nick Tresco said when it comes to these types of fires, being quick is key.

"If you hit it fast and hit it hard, you can usually do something with it," Tresco said.

He said wildfires are fought in a completely different way than structural fires, and present a whole new set of dangers.

"You're running heavy equipment on these fires so you have the possibility of logs coming into the tractor with you and hurting you on that end," Tresco said. "Or the possibility of the tractor becoming disabled and you're trapped in front of the fire."

Keeping your home safe from a fire means removing anything that could potentially be combustible, like tree debris or firewood for your home. When it comes to stray tree limbs, just be sure to keep them clipped.

The Georgia Forestry Commission is first in line to handle wildfires in Crawford, Houston, Peach and some of Bibb County. If the fire is big enough, it's all hands on deck.

"What we do there is protect structures," said Warner Robins Fire Chief Ross Moulton.

He said in these types of situations, local fire departments would protect the buildings while Georgia Forestry firefighters use tractors to contain it.

Moulton said even the equipment used and uniforms worn are different.

"This is a wild land fire fighting shirt, so this is what we wear and we issue them to our guys too in case we have a brush fire or woods fire," Moulton said. "So they don't have to put on this heavy coat because it's so hot."

Tresco said low humidity and high winds are a breeding ground for fires to thrive in. Wildfire season begins in mid-December.


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