DADE COUNTY, Ga. — Harrowing pictures capture the scene after a tractor trailer caught fire on Interstate 59 Thursday afternoon, leading to a brush fire.
Dade County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Chad Payne says it happened on I-59 southbound near the Trenton exit.
The Chief Ranger of the Georgia Forestry Commission said they could be seeing more fires this season if they don't get any rain.
Interstate-59 was backed up and shut down south bound, as flames jumped from a trailer, to the median, to the woods on the side of the interstate.
Shortly after, traffic was moving, and crews cleared the scene, leaving burnt grass and debris.
“Mainly it's burnt here, as you see behind me. It's burnt across the top of the grass and believe it or not, this will come back greener than it was before,” said Chief Ranger Heath Morton.
The grass might come back in better shape than before, but the trailer that crews towed away, might not see better days. The driver of the truck spoke to Chief Morton.
“He said it felt like something... the engine died on the truck and he pulled over and then started smelling smoke and he got out and realized it was on fire,” said Chief Morton.
The fire spread to the median, then the woods on the side of Interstate-59.
Chief Morton said there is a misconception. He said people think because it is humid outside, fires are not as likely to start.
“You get any wind behind any kind of fire and a drought and it'll go,” said Chief Morton.
According to the U.S. drought monitor, several counties in our viewing area are under a severe drought.
For people burning vegetation at home, Chief Morton urges you to use extreme caution. He said you should keep water near you and if anything gets out of hand, call the fire department.
“A lot of times, folks will wait and get out and they'll try to do it with their equipment, their tractors or whatever and by then, usually it's done, too far gone and they get over exhausted with heat,” said Morton.
Chief Morton said they worked to drench the median and side of the woods, pushing vegetation out of the way to create a barrier and keep the fire controlled.
Chief Morton told us Dade County is seeing similar conditions as they did back in 20-16, when fires plagued the area, so they are taking their own preparations just in case more fires spark up.
Walker County dispatch told us crews were sent to a separate brush fire earlier this afternoon. Dispatch told us another fire happened on the 2200 block of Grand Center Road, which is in a residential area.
Around 2:20 pm, dispatch told us the fire was about a quarter of an acre in size. Our crew was unable to find a fire when they arrived.
This is a developing story and will be updated.