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Smoke Over Macon Area From Controlled Burn | News

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Smoke Over Macon Area From Controlled Burn

People in some southern Jones County and north Bibb neighborhoods woke up this morning to heavy smoke and a burning smell.

It was from yesterday's controlled burn of 380 acres near the Macon Water Authority plant on Upper River Road.

A ranger with the Georgia Forestry Commission, Chris Buchanan, said smoke is coming from hardwoods and tree stumps still smoldering after yesterday's burn. 

Heavy smoke was seen this morning in the River North subdivision on the Bibb-Jones county line and at the Interstate 75 interchange at Arkwright Road.

Buchanan said "residual smoke" from the burn would last a day or two. 

A Georgia Forestry Commission news release said the controlled burn was meant to reduce fuel for wildfires and improve wildlife habitat. 

"In burning this track of land," said Howell Crutchfield, Jones County Forestry. "To reduce the fuel layer that's on the ground next year this time, if a fire gets started over here it would be very easy to control."

Buchanan said the Forestry Commission looks at the predicted wind direction before scheduling a burn. He said foresters expected winds mostly from west to east.

Yesterday, the forestry commission issued a Prescribed Fire Alert for Bibb, Jones, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Washington, Johnson, Jefferson and Emanuel counties.

Buchanan said the winds were more from the north than expected, pushing smoke into southern Jones and north Bibb. 

We talked to the Neshimka family who live in a low-lying area of River North.

John Neshimka said he woke up at one in the morning in a panic.

"Your house is full of smoke and you have no idea what going on," said Neshimka.

Chief Ranger Howell Crutchfield of Jones County Forestry said they sent out a press release to the media in hopes of spreading the word about the controlled fire, but they will try other ways to get the word out.

"We are going to work on that problem and next time we burn this track of land River North will know," said Crutchfield.









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