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17 Fires In One Week

An unusually dry month in May has left Jeff Davis County’s landscape exceedingly dry and prone to fires.
The Hazlehurst and Jeff Davis County Fire Departments, and the Jeff Davis County Forestry Unit verified that fact last week as they joined forces to combat 17 fires, mostly brush fires.
Hazlehurst Fire Chief/Emergency Management Agency Director Charles Wasdin said no one was hurt due to the fires, but six private vehicles were burned. Three were burned at a fire behind Lewis Generator shop on the Baxley Highway. They were old cars that had been left at the site for years and were in a wooded area behind the shop. Wasdin said that fire spread to a container near the shop that contained old car parts that were used for vehicle repairs.
During a Tuesday interview with Wasdin, the Chief said that, as he spoke, firefighters were battling an 18th blaze off Towns Bluff Road.
A fire last week on Cotton Patch Road off Bell Telephone Road appeared to has started with a trash fire that got away. That fire got into a pile of old tires and to a building that was filled with what Wasdin described as a trailer truck load of wooden panels. The firefighters were able to stop the fire before damage was done to the panels.
Wasdin added that, last week, firefighters had to go to Talmadge Dyal Road four times. The first time they extinguished the fire but, with the underbrush so dry, the embers firefighters thought had been put out, were hidden deep in mulch and eventually reignited the fire.
“One time, the fire skipped three days before it reignited,” Wasdin said. “It’s just so dry. It’s in the burned mulch and you can’t see it. Then the wind comes up and there it goes again.”
Wasdin said there was a “pretty good size” fire off Post Road and a large transformer caught on fire at one of the solar farm sites.
High temperatures also played a role in the fire fighting as one firefighter had to be taken to Jeff Davis Hospital to be given fluids after he was overcome by heat at a fire.
Tuesday’s fire off Towns Bluff Road was caused by a pine straw raking crew who started a fire to burn sticks and limbs and the fire got away from them.

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