An aerial shot of the wildfire burning in the Talladega National Forest on Thursday, Nov. 14. Source: Brandon Riggins/WBRC
Smoke from the wildfire can be seen rising above the tree line in Calhoun County. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
The wildfire is burning near the Rabbittown community in Calhoun County. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
CALHOUN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -
Firefighters are still battling a wildfire that has burned more than 300 acres of the Talladega National Forest in Calhoun County.
So far, 319 acres of forest have burned near the Rabbittown community. Officials estimate a total of 566 acres will burn before the fire is completely stopped.
A few homes are located near the edge of the fire, but fire officials say they are not in danger.
Fire officials believe someone intentionally or unintentionally started the blaze on Sunday.
"We saw a ring of rocks on the ground, and typically when you see a ring of rocks, it means someone has had a campfire. So that's our best likely conclusion...but nothing's conclusive," Joe Smith with the U.S. Forest Service said.
USFS spokesman Bobby Kitchens says a crew of around 50 people are on the ground fighting the fire. He says they hope to have the fire contained in the next couple of days, but it will probably take several more days to put it out completely.
Kitchens adds that this fire is not considered catastrophic, and could actually be a good thing for the national forest.
"There is still a layer of leaves so there won't be any soil erosion because it did not burn so intense. None of these trees will be killed. I think you can honestly say they have hardly been damaged," Kitchens said.
The wildfire could eliminate fuel for future fires and will open up the dense forest for new growth and food for the wildlife.
Calhoun County and several other parts of Central Alabama are still under a red flag warning, meaning that any fires that develop will likely spread quickly. The rain expected for this weekend could help extinguish the wildfire.
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