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CONYERS - Hot temperatures and low rainfall are pushing up wildfire activity in Georgia. The Georgia Forestry Commission is urging people to be extremely cautious about the use of fire outdoors, especially with campfires and outdoor cooking devices.

"The wet spring spawned a lot of vegetative growth," said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Frank Sorrells, "but that's all drying out rapidly. Our crews have responded to several wildfires, especially in south Georgia, and we're asking everyone to be extra vigilant about the danger of escaped fire."

The Georgia Forestry Commission reports 182 wildfires have occurred in the state since May 8. As temperatures have risen over the last 10 days, so has the frequency of new fires. Over the Memorial Day holiday and weekend, 86 fires started, which have burned 406 acres. Extended operations have been required in 13 of those fires.

Sorrells said the lack of moisture has caused recent wildfires to burn more intensely and spread at high rates. With little rain in the forecast, conditions can become dangerous quickly, statewide.

"A cell phone and a hose are critical tools to keep close by when using fire outdoors," said Sorrells. "Never be afraid to call 911 if your fire escapes. Water and a shovel are wise to have on hand as well."

Residents are reminded that EPD's outdoor burning ban for yard and land-clearing debris is also in effect until Sept. 30 for 54 Georgia counties, including Rockdale and Newton. This is in addition to the rule that prohibits the burning of household garbage. Burning household garbage is never allowed anywhere in Georgia.

For more information about fire safety and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.