Electric fence apparent cause of brush fire in south Bibb

Electric fence apparent cause of brush fire in south Bibb

 4 December 2007

published by www.macon.com

USA — An electric fence appears to be the cause of a brush fire that scorched about 15 acres of agricultural land off Mount Pleasant Church Road Monday afternoon.

Ruth Harbin said she saw smoke and haze outside her home at about 12:30 p.m. An asthma sufferer, Harbin said she called her husband at work.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Harbin said. “Then I looked out there and the woods were on fire.

“It was all up in the trees.”

Macon-Bibb County firefighters held a line behind the Harbin’s house, located across the road from a fire station, to prevent fire from spreading to houses lining Mount Pleasant Church Road. They stretched a fire hose across the road from the hydrant on the station’s front lawn and drove fire trucks to the edge of the burning field.

The fire was contained and nearly out by 2:30 p.m. when firefighters reopened the road to traffic.

No structures were damaged in the blaze and there were no injuries.

Capt. Tom Musselwhite said it’s likely an electric fence on the Fulton Mill Road side of the field caught the grass on fire. The wind was reported as gusting to as much as 26 mph across Middle Georgia Monday.

Musselwhite said the fence is equipped with technology to cut tall blades of grass to avoid fire

“But with the limited moisture we have right now it caused it to ignite,” he said.

There wasn’t any fire damage outside the fence and the fire appeared to spread in the same direction as the afternoon wind gusts, Musselwhite said.

Sam Harris said he’s been using electric fences on his property for 20 years without a problem.

“I don’t know what happened,” Harris said.

He said although he does keep goats and a cow on the property the livestock was safe near his home on Fulton Mill Road at the time of the fire.

Assistant fire Chief Marvin Riggins said although it rained Sunday night, conditions are still very dry and heavy winds have increased the likelihood of fires.

“We could still find some very dry spots,” he said. “It got things a little wet, but it wasn’t nearly enough.”

Firefighters responded to a second brush fire Monday night in the 5100 block of Fulton Mill Road just before 8 p.m.

Capt. Terry Hartley said about an acre of woods burned. The fire remains under investigation although Hartley said the two fires did not appear to be related.

A red flag warning is in effect until 6 p.m. today due to high fire danger, according to the National Weather Service.

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