Hamilton County wildfires estimated to cost more than $600,000

Firefighter Devin Delaney from St. Joseph, Missouri, sprays hot spots while battling a slop-over of the Rough Ridge wildfire in the Cohutta Wilderness of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, near Chatsworth, Ga. The wildfire, which was started by lightning in mid-October, has burned in mostly wilderness areas.

Wildfires ravage Southeast

The cost of fighting three fires in northwest Hamilton County will exceed $600,000, a state official said Monday.

Fires on Mowbray Mountain, Flipper Bend and near Poe Road are nearing 100 percent containment, assistant district forester Jim Dale said.

He added that the $600,000 figure is an early estimate that does not include personnel costs or air drop costs, which figure to drive up the final bill considerably.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will cover 75 percent of the costs.

United States senator Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga toured the wildfire area in a helicopter Monday morning. In a news conference after he landed, Corker applauded forestry officials for their efforts to contain the fires over the last several weeks.

Hamilton County mayor Jim Coppinger thanked Corker for helping secure the FEMA grant.