All clear locally, but remain vigilant, says fire marshal
If you are smelling smoke today, it is probably drifting into Pickens County from surrounding areas.
Fire Marshal Curtis Clark said Monday morning there is nothing burning here at this time, but “we’ve got fires all around - in Gilmer, Cherokee and a large woodland fire in the Cohutta wilderness area.”
He said even in the areas where they have the fire contained, it is so dry the decayed matter in the ground and roots are still smoldering and it’s impossible to put them out completely. He said they could spring back to life two days later as the ground is so dry.
While you may have a faint smell of smoke all day, Clark urges anyone who believes they see or smell heavier smoke to call 911 immediately to give crews the chance to get a jump on anything before it can ignite.
The fire marshal reminded the public there is a burning ban in place across north Georgia due to the drought.
There have only been a few incidents where Clark has responded to outdoor burning.
“Fortunately people here are heeding all the warnings,” he said. He said residents in Pickens have also been very good about calling in the little things so they can be contained quickly as the drought has all the woodlands at risk.
Clark said in his career as a fire fighter and fire marshal he has never seen conditions this prime for fires in the woods.
>> > > >>
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2016) – Effective immediately, there is a campfire restriction on multiple Georgia Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“Due to the lingering and continued drought conditions, there is elevated risk of wildfire in north and central Georgia,” said John Bowers, Chief of WRD Game Management. “Suspending the use of campfires on WMAs minimizes the risk of dangerous wildfires that threaten public safety and our forest resources. This action is consistent with the policy recently established for National Forest Lands by the USDA Forest Service and is supported by the Georgia Forestry Commission.”
Until further notice, hunters and visitors to the WMAs named below must refrain from building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire (note: commercially available fuel stoves are excluded from restriction):
Allatoona, Arrowhead, B.F. Grant, Berry College, Blanton Creek, Broad River, Buck Shoals, Clybel, Conasauga River, Coosawattee, Coosawattee – Carter’s Lake, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain, Dawson Forest, Elbert County, Fishing Creek, Hart County, J.L. Lester, Joe Kurz, Lower Broad River, Lula Bridge, McGraw Ford, Oconee, Otting, Paulding Forest, Pine Log, Rich Mountain (state-owned tracts), Sheffield, Soap Creek, West Point, Wilson Shoals and Zahnd.
WMAs located on Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest land are subject to the fire restriction policy established by the USDA U.S. Forest Service, which dictates that campfires are restricted to developed recreation areas only, and confined within receptacles designed for fire in developed campsites. More information can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/conf/alerts-notices.
>> > > >>
For more information on Georgia WMAs, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/WMAnews.
Proposed budget to be presented at next work session
Pickens County Commissioners Rob Jones, Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes during a recent millage rate hearing.
Following heated public outcry last month when commissioners raised the millage rate to fund their 2016 budget, hearings last week to discuss the 2017 budget indicate commissioners may raise the county’s budget by $1.5 million next year.
For three days last week, commissioners heard requests from county department heads for 2017. According to Faye Harvey, the county’s chief financial officer, the proposed 2017 budget is $25,375,000, a 6.5 percent increase over the approved 2016 budget of $23,824,000.
See this week's print or online editions for full story.
An Arbor Hills residents got a nasty trick, no treat, this Halloween when her front yard inflatables were vandalized early Thursday morning. She is shown cleaning up her destroyed decorations accumulated over the past 20 years.
The Arbor Hills home of Joan Anderson was vandalized around 3 a.m. Thursday morning, October 27th when someone slashed four of her Halloween-themed yard decorations. The perpetrator has yet to be apprehended but did approximately $500 in damage to the home’s decorations - which have been accumulated over 20 years and are put up each year for the enjoyment of neighborhood kids.
UPDATED November 2 -- Grading equipment is on site and erosion control work being performed ahead of grading.
Hundreds of Pickens residents have been up in arms about the proposed Dollar General on Cove Road, but permits are now in place for the project to move forward.
According to Pickens County Planning & Development Director Richard Osborne, grading is expected to begin at the end of this week at a Dollar General site at the corner of Cove and Grandview roads.
Osborne said his office issued land disturbance permit for the project on October 20.
See full story in this week's print or online editions.