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Drought Triggered Fire Restrictions

leah kirk

Extraordinarily dry weather in much of the Southern Appalachian highlands has reached drought levels that have trigged mandatory restrictions in several national forests frequented by trout fishermen. Effective October 31, there is a campfire restriction on multiple state-operated Georgia Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). This new policy adds to the list of WMAs already under a fire restriction policy due to their location on USDA Forest Service Land (Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest).

"Due to the lingering and continued drought conditions, there is elevated risk of wildfire in north and central Georgia," said John Bowers, Chief of WRD Game Management. "Suspending the use of campfires on WMAs minimizes the risk of dangerous wildfires that threaten public safety and our forest resources. This action is consistent with the policy recently established for National Forest Lands by the USDA Forest Service and is supported by the Georgia Forestry Commission."

The extremely dry conditions have prompted the U.S. Forest Service to implement strict fire restrictions in the Cherokee National Forest. The Cherokee National Forest covers 655,000 acres along much of Tennessee's eastern border, split by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Until further notice, visitors to these areas must refrain from building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire (note: commercially available fuel stoves are excluded from restriction) as defined by appropriate policy.