Smoke, road visibility concerns in south Forsyth County fire

Mulch company's fire under control

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Smoke from a mulch company will likely obstruct motorists’ views on Ga. 400 as nighttime approaches.

An overnight fire in south Forsyth at Cowarts Mulch, 4971 Shiloh Road in Cumming, continued to burn Monday afternoon and will continue through the night Sept. 24, Forsyth County Fire officials told the Forsyth Herald.

“There’s very little we can do from a responsive nature from the fire department,” Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers. “We are standing by, monitoring the situation, ensuring the fire does not get out of the perimeter of Cowarts Mulch and starts affecting other properties in the area.”

There’s very little the fire department can do, Shivers said. Throwing water on the fire of this size — about 50 feet tall in some areas — will be ineffective, he said.

The fire’s range is about an acre in size.

It’s not the mulch that is burning, Shivers said. It’s the mulch raw products such as the stumps and logs and limbs that produce the mulch.

“It’s burning significantly and producing copious amounts of smoke,” he said.

Aside from a nuisance for the area, affecting commuters and those with smoke sensitivity, there is no immediate danger.

“The surrounding community is very safe and we are monitoring very closely ensuring it does not get outside of the perimeter of Cowarts Mulch,” Shivers said.

There are no road closures, but as evening approaches and temperatures drop and the humidity increases, fire officials are concerned the smoke may block drivers’ vision of the roadway.

“We are asking that everyone be aware of that and drive cautiously and be advised of heavy smoke in the area,” Shivers said.

There are two engine companies and a brush truck on the scene.

The fire started at 3 a.m. Sept. 24 and will continue through Tuesday.

Investigators have not confirmed what started the blaze, but a spontaneous combustion in one or more of the mulch piles is likely and common, Shivers said.