Blue Gurth Swamp catches fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blaze jumps fire line, sending responders back to scene

By Jesse Swanson

The Selma Times-Journal

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Blue Gurth Swamp was on fire.

By 2 p.m. Monday, a huge column of smoke could be seen across Dallas County coming from

a forest fire east of the city of Selma, off Highway 14 on County Road 306.

The blaze started in a pine forest and spread into a southern branch of the Blue Gurth swamp where it ran rampant burning roughly 40 acres.

Burnsville, Summerfield, and Valley Grande Fire Departments, the Selma Dallas County Rescue Squad, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Forestry department all responded to the blaze.

Fire crews used tanker trucks and water filled backpacks to slow down the fire as it burned through dry pine straw.

Forestry Department

personel from Dallas and Autauga counties crashed through the woods and the swamp in bulldozers,

digging a trench to surround the fire and prevent it from reaching several structures just a few yards from the flames.

The land owner Bobby Bearden led several of his employees out into the swamp with fire rakes to try and slow the fire’s progress until the bulldozer could cut a wide enough fire line.

Bearden is a tree farmer and also uses his land for wildlife management and hunting.

Fire crews had the blaze mostly under control by 4:30 p.m. and it was burning itself out in the swamp.

But as the sun set, the fire jumped the fire line and spread rapidly. The Burnsville fire department returned but

were unable to reach the flames with their 400-ft hose, so the Dallas county Forestry Department returned with their bulldozers to try and corral the blaze once again.

The Burnsville Fire department

remained at the scene to protect several structures should the fire jumped the line again.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.