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Wildfires plague county
4.19.07 fire 1
Effingham County sheriff’s deputies block off Courthouse Road as firefighters try to contain a fire that hit the county landfill Monday afternoon. - photo by Photo by Ralna Pearson

More than 100 acres were burned as a fire off Go Cart Road traveled through an Effingham community on Monday afternoon.

Around 2 p.m. a fire began on private property located beside the landfill. The fire then moved through wooded area and the landfill, hit more wooded area and then crossed Courthouse Road ending up behind the Effingham Country Estates subdivision.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters from every municipality in the county, a private contractor and forestry units from all over Georgia worked the fire until around 10:30 p.m.

“Actually the fire is still burning,” said Travis Blankenship, a ranger with the Georgia Forestry Commission.

The fire initially started moving toward the Barrister Crossing subdivision. As a result, a mandatory evacuation was issued for the neighborhood. A voluntary evacuation was issued for Effingham Country Estates.

The weather played a significant role in the fire.

“The dry debris with the wind conditions — it just doesn’t help in a case like this,” Blankenship said.

He added that the area is eight to nine inches behind in rainfall.

The fire is contained, but still isn’t completely out.

“We’re actively working it every day,” Blankenship said.

A fire truck has been stationed on Courthouse Road, where it sits 24 hours a day. The local fire departments and the Georgia Forestry Commission are monitoring the area to make sure the fire doesn’t flare up, and county commissioners closed the landfill Wednesday.

Fire lines and fire breaks have been put down, and water is steadily being poured on the smoldering acreage.

“We have taken all the proper precautions,” Blankenship noted, but added that the weather is not cooperating.

For nearby residents, he advises them to stay alert.

“Just pay close attention and no burning till further notice,” he said.

If area residents start to see smoke they should call the fire department and if they see any fires approaching them, they should pour water on their lawns or turn on sprinklers.

Doing this, according to Blankenship, will slow down the fire.

Until the area gets some rain, fire crews will continue to monitor the land.

“We hope it dies down,” he added.