Dugger wildfire grows to 429 acres as crews surround blaze
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Nov 15, 2013 | 2907 views |  0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Forest Service specialist Lesley Hodge fights a wildfire in the Talladega National Forest on Friday. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
U.S. Forest Service specialist Lesley Hodge fights a wildfire in the Talladega National Forest on Friday. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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A wildfire that’s raged all week in the Dugger Mountain Wilderness area of the Talladega National Forest east of Jacksonville had burned 429 acres as of Friday morning, a U.S. Forest Service official said today.

Bobby Kitchens, a public information officer with the Forest Service, said the fire is expected to burn 566 acres before being extinguished. Kitchens said the large acreage is due to firefighters using as many natural resources such as streams and trails as possible as containment lines.

“I was actually surprised how much progress we made,” Kitchens said of crews’ work Thursday despite dry conditions, noting that the fire is estimated to be 30 percent contained as of Friday morning.

While increased humidity Friday is expected to help keep the fire from spreading, Kitchens said it could delay the end of the fire. Crews have surrounded the blaze with containment lines and are waiting for it to burn itself out; the more humid air could cause the fire to burn more slowly, he said.

Forecasts from the National Weather Service called for humidity of greater than 60 percent in the area for Friday afternoon.

Kitchens said the 53 firefighters in the area hope a forecast of rain will aid in containing the blaze.

Kitchens said while all control lines had been established, firefighters were still working to maintain them due to fresh leaves falling in the lines.

Besides the firefighters — some called in from New Mexico to help with the effort — Kitchens said three fire engines, two bulldozers and a helicopter were deployed in the area.

“The bulldozers are to protect private land near the area,” Kitchens said. “We probably don’t need them, but it’s too late to start digging a containment line when the fire is heading towards a house.”

Although residents in the area are safe, Kitchens said, the public should be cautious when driving on Rabbittown Road south of the wildfires because of firefighter traffic and smoke in the area.

Kitchens said the fire was man-made, but officials did not know the exact cause Friday morning.
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