This release comes from the Georgia Forestry Commission with additional information from Walker County Government:
A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist in northwest Georgia, where wildfires have been on the increase in recent days. Georgia Forestry Commission investigators determined one fire in Walker County was deliberately set, as GFC rangers continue to respond to other fires in the area.
“There’s been no measurable rain for over a month, and conditions are critically dry,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “Seasonal leaf fall, along with sustained gusty winds, are contributing to high fire risk conditions. We’re recommending any planned outdoor burning be postponed for now.”
The Walker County fire started on October 21 and has burned an estimated 706 acres. The fire escaped original containment lines on November 2 and remains active. Fire breaks have been established around the entire perimeter. This fire is burning in steep and rocky terrain, making tractor/dozer operations limited for direct attack.
On Saturday, November 4, Walker County Chairman Shannon Whitfield issued a 45-day burn ban for the county as extremely dry conditions continue to pose the threat of large, dangerous wildfires, as well as create an environment for residential debris burns to escape and spread out of control.
The GFC is reminding the public that even fires that appear to be extinguished can reignite.
Georgia burners are legally responsible for their own fires and any damage they may cause.
Georgia Forestry Commission Law Enforcement reports the fire off Highway 157 in Walker County was the result of arson. Investigators are asking for help with any information related to the person or people responsible for this fire. The Georgia Arson Control Program offers rewards of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Anyone with knowledge of this incident should contact the GFC at 1-800-GA-TREES (478-7337).
For information about wildfire safety and fire risks in your county, go to GaTrees.org or call the local GFC office.