Smoke caused by controlled burn

Published 2:34 pm Friday, March 24, 2017

A smoke and haze that enveloped parts of Troup County and LaGrange on Friday was not the cause of a working fire, officials said.


“No one in the county is working an active fire at this point this afternoon,” said Dennis Knight, Troup County fire chief, at about 2 p.m. Friday.


Instead, Knight said the smoke is likely the cause of a controlled burn in the area, either conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or another local agency.


The corps announced in January it would begin prescribed burning around the lake to control underbrush and for other purposes.


According to Ben Williams, a park ranger at West Point Lake, the prescribed burns are an important forest management tool.


“Many species and ecosystems require fire periodically to ensure their survival,” said Williams. “The overall purpose of the prescribed burns is to maintain the land’s ecological integrity as well as reduce wildfire risks on public property.”


More than 1,500 acres of public land are included in this year’s prescribed burning efforts at West Point Lake. Areas in the burn plan include: R. Shaefer Heard Campground, Crossroads Park, Holiday Campground, Whitetail Ridge Hunting Area, Autry Park Hunting Area, Indian Springs Hunting Area, Dewberry Park, Southern Pines Campground, Hardley Creek Park, Anderson Park, Amity Campground, and Oakland Road Hunting Area.