It was a fast-paced, but slow-scoring game early when the Fannin County Rebels varsity boys took the court at White County High School. Fannin (1-8, 0-4) came into the game ready to lay it all on the line, chasing their second win of the season. The Warriors (7-3, 1-0) were coming off a devastating one-point loss to rival Dawson County (55-54), ready to tip the scales of the win-loss column back in their favor.
A couple of baskets by Ryan Beavers (Fannin #35) and a free throw made by Nathaniel Garrison (Fannin #3) would be all the points the Rebels could put on the board in the first quarter, while White County’s Austin Rowland (#15) managed two baskets for four points; followed by a 2-pt shot by Austin Harris (#5), a 2-pt score by Jimmy King (#12), and 1-of-4 free throws made by Cooper Turner (#23).
After one quarter of action, White County led Fannin County 9-5.
The war of attrition continued into the second quarter, as Fannin was only able to score six points via Beavers (4-pts) and Joe Satchell (#5) who was held to only two points in the first half. White County scored another nine points, extending their lead (18-11), with Rowland continuing to make his presence felt on the court. He scored two baskets and went 2-for-2 on free throw attempts in the second quarter, giving him 10 points of total offense in the half. He’d finish the night with 20 points altogether, the leading overall scorer on the night.
In the third, the Warriors came alive offensively. Rowland and Harris came alive with a couple of 3-pointers, and the team spread the ball around with four different players putting the rock through the hoop on their way to a 15-6 run, keeping the Rebels restricted to another tough quarter offensively.
The lead would prove too much for Fannin to overcome in the fourth, as White County won by a final score of 42-23, improving to 8-3 overall.
The Rebels scoring was led by Beavers with seven points, followed by Satchell with five, Chase Culpepper with three, Cohutta Hyde with two. Nathaniel Garrison and Payton Holt each scored a free throw in the contest.
White County now looks to enjoy some time off for the holidays before facing Adairsville, Ga on Dec 28th in the Blue Ridge Holiday Tournament. Fannin County continues their pursuit of victory this Friday when they travel to Hayesville, NC.
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FetchYourNews received the following update from the USFS Conasauga Ranger District which covers the Cohutta Wilderness Area.
Rough Ridge Fire Status Acres Burned: 4,319 Cause: Lightning Date Started: October 16, 2016
Percent Contained: 10% Approximate resources: 265
Current fire situation: Yesterday ,the fire crossed the Rough Creek drainage and continued burning upslope towards the East Cowpen Trail. The fire has begun backing downslope and making short runs. The fire continues to grow on the northern perimeter as it backs down into the Jacks River drainage. Fire managers have been conducting daily Infrared flights to monitor the fire perimeter and track acreage.
Because of the extreme drought conditions and the location of this fire within the Cohutta Wilderness, one of the management objectives is to allow the fire to accomplish its natural ecological role.
Planned Actions: Hot and dry weather will increase fire behavior today, especially on western exposed slopes and the north and west perimeters. Fire crews will continue to patrol Jacks River north from Jones Settlement. Crews near Jones Settlement will give special attention to the continual leaf drop and watch for reburn potential and lingering creeping fire. Crews will continue to mop up the fireline from Jones Settlement to Bees Knob and construct fireline along East Cowpen Trail to the North Buckeye Mountain. Prep work to establish a future line in the Conasauga River drainage from Forest Service (FS) Road 64 to Conasauga Creek will continue. Lines throughout the fire perimeter will need to be continually reestablished as the leaf fall continues.
Fire Weather: The high pressure system that has been over the fire area in recent days will lift today, causing slightly higher temperatures and lower humidity. Winds will be out of the southeast and slightly stronger than in previous days.
Closures: Pursuant to Title 36 CFR, Section 261.50(a) and (b), the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest has issued a Forest Closure for the entire Cohutta Wilderness. All visitors and Forest users are asked to abide by all closure signs posted at entry points, roads and trails. This closure has been put in place due to the increase in fire spread through the Cohutta Wilderness Area and to allow for public and firefighter safety.
In addition, an area on the southeastern edge of the wilderness is closed. This area is bordered on the south and east by FS Road 64, north from Jacks River Fields and east to Watson Gap. This area encompasses the Jacks River Fields Campground, the South Fork Trail, the two to three mile section of the Benton MacKay Trail that overlaps, and the last two miles of the Pinhotti Trail located north of FS Road 64. The length of FS Road 64 between Watson Gap to Potatopatch Mountain along the southern edge of the Cohutta Wilderness is closed. This includes the section of FS Road 64 that was previously closed due to a landslide last winter. Additionally, all roads west of Watson Gap are closed to all traffic except residents; this includes FS Road 126.
Effective Tuesday a complete burn ban will be implemented for the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests. This restriction prohibits all open flames such as campfires and charcoal grills.
Due to high fire danger caused by extreme drought conditions across much of Georgia, Fannin and Gilmer Counties have issued a ban on all outdoor burning until further notice due to the extremely dry conditions and high fire danger. No open burning of any type is being permitted including campfires and fire pits. For more information on the burn ban for Fannin County, contact the Fannin County Emergency Management Agency at 706-632-1958. For more information on the burn ban for Gilmer County, contact the Gilmer County Department of Public Safety at 706-635-1333.
Air quality: With winds expected out of the southeast today, communities west and northwest of the fire area are likely to experience smoky conditions. However, with other fires in northern Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina, all areas have the possibility of impaired air quality.
Air quality conditions may change quickly, based on weather, wind direction, and fire activity. Sensitive groups including individuals with asthma, lung or heart disease, children, older adults and pregnant women should take precautions to avoid exposure to smoke. If you feel as though you are having health effects from smoke, see your doctor or health professional as needed. Use caution when driving in or around smoky areas.
Fire Information: For more information about the Rough Ridge Fire, contact: 470-208-2839. Information is also available online on the Forest website, social media pages and on inciweb athttp://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5078/#.
On Wednesday morning, Nov. 2nd, Jeff Gardner, USFS District Ranger for Conasauga District provided FetchYourNews with the following information about the Rough Ridge wildfire in the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Story begins below map.
As of Tuesday evening, the Rough Ridge wildfire was at 2,771 acres. The main part of the fire is on the east side of Rough Ridge trail and is moving on a north, north-east track following the ridge line. The northern extent of the fire is near Crooked Dogwood Gap. Fire has backed down to the Jacks River all the way to Sugar Cove Branch.
Estimates from last week was that it would be about 3,000 acres in size. Gardner now says that the fire will exceed 3,000 acres but did not provide information on how large the fire could become.
The wildfire jumped two control lines early this week. On the west side, the fire crossed Rough Ridge trail and is now established on the western side of the mountain near Ash Hopper Branch, burning in a south to north direction. Fire crews plan to stop the western side of the fire at Rough Creek.
On the east side, embers from the fire crossed Conasauga Creek and ignited roughly 40 acres. Two other spots crossed the control line west of Jones Settlement and were contained at 2 and 15 acres. USFS used bulldozers to make a clean fire line around these areas. Crew members camped at the control lines east of Consauga Creek so they could walk the fire lines day and night. Fannin County EMA sent trucks to the area yesterday in case the spread outside into Jones Settlement. USFS is also conducting water drops on the western edge of Jones Settlement.
Jones Settlement contains about 25 cabins. According to Gardner, it is the only piece of property in Fannin County that backs up to the Cohuttas. The rest of the wilderness is surrounded by National Forest.
USFS is now conducting water drops on the fire to keep its heat down. USFS is using two helicopters to make the drops. One has a 150 gallon capacity and draws its water from a bucket filled at Lake Ocoee. The other has a 2,880 gallon capacity and uses a snorkel which sucks water up from the lake. Both helicopters are using Lake Ocoee as it is five minutes by air from the fire area. Lake Blue Ridge is much further.
Within a Wilderness Area, fire crews must use fire control methods that have minimal impact. USFS’ overall plan is to control the fire with natural barriers like Jack’s River, Conasauga Creek and Rough Creek and man-made fire breaks such as Rough Ridge and East Cowpen trails. In total, USFS has established 15 miles of control lines, which included natural and man-made fire breaks. Fire crews daily hike the natural and man-made fire breaks to clean the breaks of leaves or dead fall which fire could use to travel over the breaks. Crews are also igniting back fires from the fire breaks with the idea that the back fires will burn up all the fuel between it and the main fire, leaving the main fire with nothing to fuel it. USFS is also conducting a daily fly-over of the fire. The site of the fire is an extremely remote, rugged area with limited access. Crews must hike in all their firefighting equipment like shovels and saws.
A lightning strike ignited Rough Ridge fire in mid-October. Gardner said that lightning strikes only start 3% of the fires in the Cohutta Wilderness Area. The other 97% of fires are human-caused. In fact, Conasauga District rangers are now dealing with fires in the western part of their district and have brought in a fire management crew to oversee the Rough Ridge fire in the Cohuttas.
Gardner says that Fannin County can expect Rough Ridge fire to burn for a while. The next predicted rain is in the middle of November. Other weather services say that north Georgia’s drought could last through winter.
The fire burns more slowly in the morning hours due to higher humidity and lower temperatures. In the afternoon, low humidity and higher temperatures cause the fire to pick up again. Wind directions change day to day, so different communities may experience smoke impacts on different days.
A burn ban for Fannin County started on Oct.22nd. There should be no outdoor burning of any type including fire pits, campfires and burn barrels. On Oct. 23rd a smoldering fire pit on an outdoor deck in Gwinnett County started a fire which engulf the house, killing all five people in the house. Fannin County EMA and Fire Department remind residents one floating ember can start a fire.
Current closures associated with the Rough Ridge wildfire include:
- Forest Service Road 64 from Betty Gap trailhead to Three Forks trailhead
- Three Forks trailhead parking lot
- East Cowpen trail from Three Forks parking lot to the junction with Panther Creek trail, and
- Entire length of Rough Ridge trail from the junction with East Cowpen trail to Jacks River trail.