The lack of rainfall across Central Georgia means a higher chance for forest or brush fires.

Ocmulgee Heritage Trail Park Ranger Angela Bates says forest fires are already common this time of year because there are more leaves on the ground.

Bates says these fires grow rapidly and could burn acres within a matter of hours. Tossing a cigarette is one of the most common ways these fires start.

“Sometimes through cigarettes, it’s easy people throw down their cigarette and they don’t think about it. It may not be put out all the way, and it catches on fire so it’s really easy to accidentally start a fire without realizing it,” said Bates.

Bates says if you notice a brush or forest fire starting, then you should call a ranger or call the fire department.