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Georgia's hot, dry weather increases wildfire risk

The abundance of heat and lack of rain brings about a higher than average number of wildfires to Georgia.

MACON, Ga. — Ken Parker, wildland fire specialist at the Georgia Forestry Commission, worries about our weather.

“Under the conditions and for the foreseeable future, right now, there’s not a significant rainfall that’s predicted, " Parker said.

The lack of rain in the forecast only adds fuel to the possibility of a wildfire.

“We’re exceptionally dry," Parker said.

"Many parts of the state are in moderate to severe drought, so any little spark can start a fire," Parker continued.

Just last week in Taylor County, a wildfire burned 12 acres.

This fire added on to some already high-octane stats.

“In the state of Georgia, since July 1, we’re up about 25% in the number of fires and about 22% in acreage," Parker said.

This increase is thanks in part to September's scorching track record. 

The last day we had any kind of measurable rainfall in Central Georgia was September 10th

September 10th brought in 0.02 inches of rain.

To make it worse, that was the only kind of measurable rainfall we’ve had for the entire month.

Pair that with the extremely warm temperatures and even some triple-digit heat in September, and that doesn’t help with wildfire situation..

"Just for the month of September, we are up 52%, and that’s not even including the fires from this weekend," Parker said, comparing September's numbers to the five-year average the Forestry Commission looks at. 

About 120 fires and over 600 acres burned over the weekend statewide, but Parker says there are ways to help suppress the situation.

“When you're doing debris burning, you need to be cautious," Parker advised.

"You need to have rakes, you need to have the area cleaned around it, some sort of water source so you can put it out if it gets away from you," Parker continued.

Parker says that man-made debris fires are the number one cause of Georgia's wildfires. 

Following the tips to burn safely can essentially help to stop our wildfire numbers from continuing to soar. 

There is currently a burn ban in place for 54 counties in Georgia.

That will be lifted on October 1st, but Parker says with the dry conditions, people still need to be extra cautious. 

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