|Locations of wildfires (WSJ)|
One problem in many of the mountainous areas is the inability to bring in heavy equipment to clear land around a blaze so it burns out, McWhirter writes. Unable to bring in heavy equipment Georgia "has sent in work crews made up of park rangers, prison inmates and others to the affected areas to create fire lines with shovels, axes and other tools."
Georgia in October had 944 wildfires, a 220 percent increase over the past five years, and in November has had 399 fires, an increase of 15 percent, McWhirter writes. The biggest damage, in Fannin County, has burned 28,000 acres.
Ken Arney, deputy regional forester for State and Private Forestry in the Forest Service’s Southern region, said one problem is that "the South has denser hardwood forests than many western areas, meaning more fuel for fires to burn, and the region generally has more houses in the forests as well," McWhirter writes. He told McWhirter, "We’re a long way from saying we are in good shape containing these fires." (WSJ video)