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Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 12:07pm

More Wildfires Expected In 2012

Meteorologists are predicting an early spring for Georgia, something forestry officials say, could cause more wildfires.

Rains expected this month could improve conditions, but not enough to help already dry areas.

Frank Sorrells of the Georgia Forestry Commission says, trees downed in last year's North Georgia tornadoes also could present a fire hazard.

"We are concerned about those areas," Sorrells says. "We do know if a fire does occur in some of that blow down that it's going to be more intense."

The Honey Prairie Fire in the Okefenokee Swamp last year burned over 300,000 acres and cost over $52 million.

The fire is currently dormant.

But the Georgia Forestry Commission's Frank Sorrells says, new plants could be a problem.

"Because of the unusually warm temperatures, we feel like the vegetation has continuously grown and added more fuel to wild-land fires."

Fire prevention teams plan on evaluating and monitoring high-risk areas this week.

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