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Rural brush fire threatens area homes

An Albany Fire Department firefighter sprays down a hotspot before 3 p.m. Friday behind the 1100 block of Gaissert Road. About an acre of grass, brush and trees caught fire before 1:50 p.m. from burning trash.

An Albany Fire Department firefighter sprays down a hotspot before 3 p.m. Friday behind the 1100 block of Gaissert Road. About an acre of grass, brush and trees caught fire before 1:50 p.m. from burning trash.

ALBANY — The wind blew flames from a rural yard's burn barrel and ignited grass, bushes and trees on the 1100 block of Gaissert Road before 1:40 p.m. Thursday, said an Albany Fire Department official.

"They had it under control in about 30 minutes," said Battalion Chief Daniel Potter at about 4:30 p.m. "They are still out there making sure it is completely out. It burned more than an acre, maybe two or three."

Firefighters brought in two pumper trucks and two brush trucks to handle the blaze. They kept the fire from leaping over or crawling under a wire fence from James Williams' property onto his next-door neighbor Harris Williams' land.

"I got the call and they were here before me. They showed up very fast," Williams said. "They did a good job keeping it on that side of the fence. If it had gotten to the cotton field it would have really been bad."

During the battle, the firefighters called the Georgia Forestry Commission. Forestry staff showed up with a bulldozer to turn dirt over on the field.

A problem with fighting rural fires is the availability of water. The trucks brought more than 1,000 gallons to the brush fire Thursday. It was exhausted before spot fires had been put out.

"We had it all out in one direction when the wind moved it in another," Potter said. "The trucks had to refill."

Fire trucks drove five miles to a hydrant. Once the trucks had water tanks full they drove back to the sporadic flames. Potter said this would not happen if a structure was on fire.

The strategy for a structure fire is different, Potter said. At a structure fire four trucks would be sent, he added. That means more than 4,000 gallons of water on the scene with a plan to alternate refilling if necessary.

"Ideally you would like to have a hydrant at the fire," Potter said. "In farm areas that isn't always possible."