November 21, 2016, Clayton: Tall flames were visible on a ridge overlooking Betty’s Creek Road near Dillard Monday evening. At that point, the fire was burning more than 13,000 acres and 30 percent of it was contained. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Wildfire on Georgia-North Carolina border could double in size

Clayton – The Rock Mountain wildfire here in North Georgia is spreading north and east and has the potential to more than double in size to 30,000 acres amid windy and dry conditions, federal officials confirmed at a packed public briefing Monday night.

Tall flames were visible on a ridge overlooking Betty’s Creek Road near Dillard Monday evening. At that point, the fire was burning more than 13,000 acres and 30 percent of it was contained. No injuries had been reported and no homes had been lost as the fire burned through Rabun and Towns counties in Georgia and Clay and Macon counties in North Carolina.

“It is growing actively daily,” Noel Livingston, the incident commander for the fire, told scores of people who had gathered in the Rabun County Courthouse for the briefing. Later, in response to a question from the audience about the fire’s potential, Livingston said: “Probably this fire is going to be 30,000 acres. It could be larger than that.”

Betty Jewett, forest supervisor for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, hastened to emphasize the firefighters are focused on protecting people and property.

“I don’t want to have any misconceptions that we are letting this burn because we are not,” she said. “This is a full suppression fire.”

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