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Rain brings relief, downed trees
Smoke from wildfires may begin to decrease
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 The thunderstorms that drenched portions of the southeast Thursday may help douse the wildfires in Ware and Brantley counties and could help ease the layer of smoke that has affected other counties miles away.
    Citizens have been concerned about the smoke seen in the area, calling public safety officials with questions about what was burning, but the smoke drifted across the miles from the vast wildfires in the Okefenokee, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
    “The humidity keeps the smoke close to the ground, and the breeze keeps it moving,” he said. “As long as the fires are burning, we will see the smoke.”
    But after yesterday’s thunderstorms, it’s possible that the wildfires could wane. “They have had significant rainfall in those areas,” he said.
    Bulloch County saw significant rainfall as well, with some reporting up to an inch of rain. Many areas, including Brooklet, were without power for a time, and some had problems due to wind and lightning.
    Wynn said a tree fell on a house in Brooklet on Serenity Avenue, but no one was injured. Bulloch County 911 operators routed several calls about downed trees throughout the county, but “Brooklet seemed to bear the brunt of it,” he said.
    Lightning struck a house on Burkhalter Road off Ga. 67, and melted some wiring, he said.
    Weather experts call for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms again today and Saturday, he said. “The rain will help” with withering crops and the smoky haze, he said.
    If the smoke from the wildfires continue, people with breathing issues should remain indoors, he said. Other than affecting some with breathing difficulties, the layers of smoke are not thick enough to pose travel issues, he said.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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