Wildfire numbers up in Coweta
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Statewide, wildfires for Georgia were down in fiscal year 2013, in both number and acreage, mostly due to the wet weather.
But in Coweta County, fires were above average, according to the annual report presented Thursday to the Coweta County Board of Commissioners by Terry Quigley, chief ranger for the Coweta Unit of the Georgia Forestry Commission.
There were 31 wildfires that burned a total of 162 acres, Quigley said. The five-year average is 27 fires burning 110 acres.
Eight of those fires were from debris burning, four were from controlled burns that got out of control, three were caused by lightning, two by machine use, and 14 were listed as "other." “Other” includes fires from storage of ashes, vehicle fires, railroad fires, and illegal burns.
The Coweta Unit does more than just fight wildfires. It also plows firebreaks, helps with controlled burns, and helps plow food plots.
There were 198 permitted burns in the county, covering 6,936 acres, and staff assisted on 37 of those, which covered 4,190 acres. There were 15,733 burn permits issued, making Coweta fifth in the state for total permits issued.
The district office, located just down Corinth Road from the county unit office, has foresters who can assist landowners with forestry questions.
In other meeting business:
• The commissioners approved road closures for the filming of "The Walking Dead." Commissioner Paul Poole asked the producers be certain to inform nearby cities of filming. "The last time they filmed in Turin" city officials "didn't know about it" even though the commissioners had asked that they be informed. "The mayor was concerned about knowing about it," Poole said.
• Granted was a beer and wine license for HJ Wings and Things in Thomas Grace Annex.
• Approved was a variance filed by George and Teresa Gaston for property at 1810 Lower Fayetteville Road, and a conditional use permit requested by Michael and Anna Buongiorne for property in the Quig's Farm subdivision.
• The board set a public hearing for Oct. 15 for a special use permit for events for property at 360 Palmetto Tyrone Road, filed by Jason Lee.
• The board approved the capital improvements element and short-term work program update for 2013.
• Approved was a request from Moreland for building inspection services related to the Moreland Mill and an intergovernmental agreement with Grantville for building inspection services.
• The board approved purchase of a portable radio for the coroner's office for $4,137 and four portable radios for EMS totaling $14,761.