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High winds fuel brush fire that damages 2 homes near Lake Lanier
Campfire began blaze that spread quickly off Waterscape Ridge
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Hall County Fire Capt. Zachary Brackett describes how fire spread to several residences Saturday on Waterscape Ridge in North Hall County. Two homes were damaged by the fire, but no injuries were reported. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hall County Fire Services crews successfully controlled and put out a large scale brush fire Saturday afternoon that threatened several North Hall homes.

Fire Services units responded to the call of a grass fire at the 6400 block of Waterscape Ridge in North Hall at 12:36 p.m. But the situation quickly was upgraded to a residential fire when first responders arrived at the scene at 12:48.

Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett said the fire was started by a campfire that was left unextinguished overnight on the shore of Lake Lanier.

There were no injuries reported.

Brackett said that high morning winds spread fires up the slope towards the houses on Waterscape Ridge.

“This is a bad area,” Brackett said, indicating the steep slopes surrounding the houses, “If you look at the topography around the lake, whenever we have steep ridges like this and a fire starts at the bottom, it shoots right up like a chimney.”  

Brackett said that the windy conditions in an open area can cause a fire to double in size every couple of minutes. In this case, the wind pushed the fire around and between the houses.

He went on to say that the situation was complicated by underground hot spots that required assistance from Georgia Forestry assistance to extinguish.

“It’s something we are going to have to deal with more and more while we are in a drought condition,” he said. “Any time you have a recreational fire, make sure that you put it out completely.

Initial examinations estimate that the fire spread nearly 10 acres and caused $15,000-$20,000 worth of damage to homes on Waterscape Ridge.

Hall County Fire Services collaborated with Georgia Forestry and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office to subdue the fire.