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Coastal Georgia feeling drought: concerns with wildfires, crops, streams

As the heat ramps up, the majority of coastal Georgia counties are experiencing moderate to...
As the heat ramps up, the majority of coastal Georgia counties are experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions.(WTOC)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:47 AM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - As the heat ramps up, the majority of coastal Georgia counties are experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions.

Of course, with drought conditions come concerns with crops and wildfires. Also, small ponds and streams in this area have dried up.

“A number of fires recently in the past month of course small rains come along and that calms down for a few days but with that drought it doesn’t take long for that rain to dissipate and then start having fires again,” said Fire Management Officer Byron Haire with the Georgia Forestry Commission.

He recommends waiting to burn leaves or small debris fires at home until we get some substantial rainfall.

Already Chatham County and Effingham County have about five less inches of rain than normal this year. We are expecting later Thursday morning they will update the drought monitor and see the latest data.

Farmer’s perspective

More than 80 percent of Effingham County is in a severe drought, and with rain still not in the forecast Thursday, some farmers are starting to get concerned.

This corn crop here right now is okay, but if it doesn’t get some rain by the end of the week, Boyd Farms might lose about one quarter of their crop. If conditions don’t improve in the next few weeks it could be detrimental to the whole crop.

Boyd Farms in Effingham County says right now their main concern is with their corn.

They do irrigate some of their crops but they only have enough equipment to do just over half of all of their crops.

Ben Boyd says they can only plan so much because the corn is really dependent on the weather and specifically the rain to survive.

“Corn has a certain time it is going to do, it would be like selling Christmas trees in January, once it starts making corn and making an ear, it doesn’t matter how much it rains, if we miss it, it is gone so we really need one now, you always want a little more but if we could rain right now that would get us over the hump,” Boyd said.

He says the cotton crop is a little less of a concern. Right now they have about 50 percent of their crop planted but they really need some rain to come in the next few days to stay on track.

He says tensions are high right now as they are in the waiting game right now. They are trying to stay positive, with rain chances for the first time on Saturday.

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