Fires burning in DeKalb, Forsyth counties

DeKalb County firefighters were battling a blaze Friday afternoon near the First Baptist Church in Lithonia, Channel 2 Action News reported. The scene is on Hillandale Drive near I-20. The blaze was reported under control about 5:30 p.m.

Also, crews in Forsyth County were battling a 1-acre fire on Greenwood Acres near Cumming, Channel 2 reported. That blaze was threatening three homes in a neighborhood.

There were 64 new fires reported statewide since Thursday, Georgia Forestry Commission spokeswoman Wendy Burnett said.

In all, October wildfire activity in the state was more than 200 times the five-year average for the month, the GFC said in a Facebook post.

“We are stretched with fires breaking out all over,” Burnett said, “but our folks are some of the most dedicated and professional that you could hope to meet. So we are confident when we say, ‘We’ve got this.’”

Burnett said the GFC has been able to move some firefighters from areas with lower activity to some of the “hot spots.” And the agency has gotten help from local fire departments and other agencies.

Gwinnett County fire spokesman Tommy Rutledge said the GFC has helped his agency cut firebreaks around the perimeter of burn areas as needed.

“This weekend is a good time to be extra vigilant due to the high fire danger created by low humidity, steady wind and dry ground cover,” Rutledge said.

A Red Flag warning for North Georgia is in effect until 7 p.m. Friday because of conditions that can spark more wildfires. The warning, issued by the National Weather Service, means wind gusts of up to 30 mph are possible. Also, there still is no significant rain in the forecast.

“Basically, this takes us from bad to worse,” Burnett said.

Fires continued to burn on Rocky Face Mountain in Whitfield County and more than 2,700 acres in the Cohutta Wilderness Area in North Georgia.

There are burn bans, self-imposed or otherwise, in Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding, Cobb and Douglas counties.

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