Dry conditions kept both the City of Cartersville and Bartow County Fire Departments busy Saturday afternoon.
According to the BCFD, a grass fire in the Taylorsville area quickly spread, demanding assistance from Polk County, the city of Cartersville and Georgia Forestry personnel. A total of five acres of wood and pasture were ignited in the blaze. The call came in at 3:34 p.m. and firefighters were on scene at 3:35. After nearly three hours, the fire was under control and the last truck went back in service at 7:45 p.m. One structure was in danger at the time of the fire, but emergency personnel were able to save the structure. A resident initially refused to leave the home but did leave the building. No injuries were reported and only the grass and pasture sustained damage. The cause remains under investigation.
The city fire department responded to a small fire call at Hooters restaurant located at the front of the outside of the building where someone had dropped a cigarette butt against the building. An off-duty firefighter that happened to be on scene put the fire out before trucks could arrive. No injuries were reported.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency warns of leaving fires unattended during dry weather spurts. With no rain in the forecast or on the radar, and winds above 10 miles per hour over the weekend due to outer effects of Hurricane Irene, small sparks can quickly ignite a large blaze.
FEMA warns not to leave even a cigarette butt unattended, as is evident by Saturday's Hooter's incident. Little rain may not cause grass to grow well, but FEMA also advises to keep lawns mowed to a maximum of two inches, especially near driveways and roads, in order to avoid ignition from automobile exhaust systems.
Although Labor Day weekend is approaching, FEMA advises to keep all grills at least 15 feet away from all structures and to use outdoor cooking devices with caution and to refrain from using them at all during high risk times.