published Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

'Mopping up': Chattooga wildfire should be out soon, firefighters say

The Mac White Gap wildfire burns Sunday night in Chattooga County, Ga. (Photo by Jeff Schardt/US Forest Service)
The Mac White Gap wildfire burns Sunday night in Chattooga County, Ga. (Photo by Jeff Schardt/US Forest Service)
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    The Mac White Gap wildfire burns Sunday night in Chattooga County, Ga. (Photo by Jeff Schardt/US Forest Service)
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Firefighters continued "mopping up" a fire inside the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia on Monday night.

Cold temperatures, high humidity and possible precipitation are expected to help crews work toward controlling the fire today.

Mitch Cohen, a spokesman for the forest, said members of the U.S. Forest Service, Georgia Forestry Commission and Chattooga County Volunteer Fire Department contained the fire to 47 acres Monday morning.

The fire is located about four miles south of Summerville, Ga., near U.S. Highway 27 at the top of Taylor's Ridge. Investigators don't yet know the fire's cause.

On some sides of the flames, Cohen said, firefighters can rely on "holding lines," which are natural barriers to a fire -- streams and roads.

On the other sides, the firefighters have created "fire lines." These are man-made barriers where the firefighters strip away vegetation. When the flames get near these points, the fire will stop spreading.

Cohen said that crews are containing the fire, adding that it would take just the right wind gust in the right direction to cause a further spread.

Containing a fire is not the same as controlling a fire. When the flames are contained, as is the case Monday, firefighters have stopped the fire from spreading. When the fire is controlled, Cohen said, the fire is almost out.

The fire began Sunday night after sundown. Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader said members of his department and the Georgia State Patrol shut down two of U.S. 27's three lanes because smoke from the fire was so dense.

All three lanes were open again Monday.

"We're keeping a close eye on it," Cohen said. "We're feeling pretty good about where it's at right now.

Staff writer David Cobb contributed to this report.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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