SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A brush fire that forced the evacuation of some residents at a Hinesville apartment complex on Easter Sunday is reminding area communities that dry conditions and winds can be a dangerous combination.
“We are in a high-risk level because of the debris and lack of rain,” said Battalion Chief Christopher Shelnutt of the Savannah Fire Department.
Daily ratings from the Georgia Forestry Commission show conditions are ripe for a fire.
“Everybody just needs to be aware and if they see a problem they need to report it,” said Shelnutt.
Shelnutt says one big problem within the Savannah city limits is open air fires that people start themselves.
“In the City of Savannah we make it simple, i.e. at no time are you allowed to burn shrubbery, yard debris or garbage,” said Shelnutt. “Just be aware of your situation and understand that the way the wind blows in Savannah what starts as a little fire you have in your back yard could turn out to be something very large. The wind will spread it. It will get in the pine straw, get in the trees and then the next thing you know it’s out of the control of your water hose.”
He also told us to be aware of such things as mulch and pine straw that you use for landscaping. He says put it in new every gardening season. “But if you do not exchange it out every year if you just keep putting it on top of the old stuff, you’re just causing a kindling effect if someone drops a cigarette or something like that,” he told me.
Shelnutt says protect your home from brush fires that may start nearby by having a buffer around your home that is clear of debris and any dead wood material. He also told us in terms of open air fires within the city limits, they’re serious about enforcement.
“We will respond every day to several open area fires,” said Shelnutt. “If we feel it’s gross neglect to the city ordinance we will call the Fire Marshal or Savannah police to make sure that person gets the appropriate citation.”