DEKALB COUNTY, Ala.--A large wildfire ignited its way through some DeKalb County woods at Little River Canyon Nature Preserve early Saturday morning. The fire sparked an all-day battle for firefighters.
As of Saturday night, crews were still working to contain the wildfire. They will be monitoring the fire all night to make sure it doesn't spread past the fire lines they have set up.
Officials said they suspect the fire was started by illegal camping. Park rangers want to remind people there are currently burn bans in place.
Little River Canyon Park Ranger Larry Beane said the fire spread rapidly. "When I came in at one o'clock it was at forty acres or over forty acres. And by about two-thirty, three o'clock, it made it to a hundred acres," he said.
"We're thinking our fire lines will hold at the power line and the river and 861. That's our goal," Beane added.
He said planes have been doing air drops (of water and/or fire retardant) and to spot anywhere the fire might cross lines. "I think the airdrops are probably pretty close to over for right now. But, they have had quite a few air drops today," he said.
Beane said for drivers on Highway 35, extra caution is needed Saturday night and into Sunday morning in case the smoke settles on the road impairing visibility.
"They need to be careful tonight, if the smoke starts settling, if the wind changes directions. Right now, it's keeping it clear on Highway 35," he said.
It's especially important to keep an eye out for firefighters on Highway 35 and keep their safety in mind as they go in and out on the roads Saturday night.
Beane also wanted to warn drivers about road closures. "The area around 861 and Martha's Falls will be closed probably for a day or two with the fire," he said.
He said they haven't evacuated residents in the area yet. Though they recommended a voluntary evacuation earlier Saturday.