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Firefighters tame two weekend blazes linked to brush burns
March 20 fires
One of the March 20 emergency calls was a house fire on Harbour Ridge Drive in southern Dawson County. Photo submitted by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services.

Two structures in different parts of Dawson County each sustained flame and smoke damage this past Sunday after brush burns spread during dangerous weather conditions, according to a press release from Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services

In a Monday Facebook post, Dawson County Fire & EMS urged viewers not to burn on “Red Flag” days, where there is low humidity and high winds. 

Before starting a burn, people are encouraged to check the National Weather Service website for current local weather conditions. Landowners should not burn if the fire danger rating is a 4 or 5 or the NWS has issued a  “High Fire Danger Statement,” the county post said. 

A large brush fire with structure endangerment near Hugh Stowers Road was called in to Dawson County E911 at 4:02 p.m. on March 20. Upon arriving, initial firefighters saw a 5000-square-foot barn fully ablaze, along with several acres of woods. The county brought a total of two engines, one quint, two medical units and two tenders to the scene. Eleven fire suppression firefighters and eight volunteer support crew responded to help extinguish the fire. 

Personnel used multiple handlines to extinguish the fire. Additionally, Georgia Forestry was requested to plow a break around the fire in order to contain it. The fire was declared to be under control at 4:35 p.m. Crews remained on scene for a little white later hitting “hot spots.” 

Fortunately, no civilians or firefighters were injured. 

Second fire

Then roughly an hour-and-a-half later at 6:11 p.m., first responders went to a reported house fire with trapped occupants off of Harbour Ridge Drive, in southern Dawson County.

Engine 3 arrived on scene within seven minutes, and firefighters saw heavy smoke and flames billowing from a two-story single-family dwelling. 

Crews accounted for all occupants and confirmed that they were out of the house. Two civilians were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for possible smoke inhalation.

Dawson County responded with two fire engines, one quint, two medical units and an engine. A medical and Battalion Chief unit each came from Forsyth County Fire to provide mutual aid. 

Fire personnel used numerous handlines and master streams to control the fire. The blaze was deemed to be under control at 7:21 p.m. Its cause appeared to be accidental and was linked to outdoor burning. 

Dawson County Fire & EMS responded to one citizen’s question about what to do if people don’t heed fire warnings. The follow-up comment explained for someone to contact them if they feel another person is not taking proper precautions and is burning too close to a structure or woods, leaving a fire unattended or burning during high fire danger conditions like this past weekend. 

People can call 911 or the fire department’s non-emergency line at 706-344-3636, and fire personnel “will be happy to come out and speak to the responsible party.” 

“However, the person doing the burning is ultimately responsible for their fire and any damage it may cause,” the Fire & EMS comment added.