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Authorities: Recent island fires on Lake Lanier no threat to public

THE GRIND: North Forsyth's Justin Gibson

Shot by Micah Green Edited by Paul Dybas

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FORSYTH COUNTY — Recent reports of what may have looked like fires on Lake Lanier were not as drastic as initial claims, according to public safety personnel.

The Department of Natural Resources recently responded to a brush fire on an uninhabited island on the lake, according to Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers.

Forsyth’s firefighters did not respond to the incident after DNR asked that the leave the island — property of the federal government and under DNR jurisdiction for law enforcement — alone, Shivers said, because there was “very little we can do anyway.”

“As long as no one is on the island who’s in danger, there’s not a lot of need for concern,” Shivers said. “There are no structures on those islands. There’s some wildlife, but they have means to escape by the water.”

Allowing “a fire like that” to burn the underbrush and “naturally accumulating debris” can be good for vegetation and natural growth, Shivers said.

“If you see a fire, it’s always best to call it in and let authorities know about it, but in this case there’s nothing to be done about it,” he said.

The county fire department does not have any fire boats that are equipped to handle fire suppression, he said.

However, rescue vessels would respond to an incident if people are reported to be in danger or in need of evacuation.