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Georgia wildfire won’t stop bear and buck hunt

Crews battling the largest active wildfire in Georgia might cross paths with hunters Thursday.

U.S. Forest Service officials said an annual five-day bear and buck hunt is still on in the Cohutta Wildlife Management Area of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

“You can safely say that you can hunt outside that area and it’s not a risk to the hunters,” the agency’s Lucinda Nolan told Channel 2 Action News.

Hunting, which runs through Dec. 4, will be restricted due to the Rough Ridge fire in Fannin County that has burned 27,870 acres in the area, the Forest Service said in a statement.

“The Rough Ridge fire is still not fully contained and firefighters will continue to work in the area,” the agency said in the statement. “The potential for the fire to ‘reburn’ … is possible.”

The fire was 95 percent contained early Thursday, the Forest Service said.

Emergency vehicle traffic will be allowed on all Forest Service roads around the fire.

“Please reduce your speed on these roads, adhere to all road closures and do not block gates or park vehicles in areas where the fire has burned,” officials said.

The Forest Service is part of a multi-agency team that is fighting the Rough Ridge fire and another one in Rock Mountain in Rabun County. The team includes more than 100 people in Rough Ridge and is managed by the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership.

Multiple roads will be closed through Sunday while firefighting efforts continue. They include:

— Cohutta Wilderness south of Jacks River

— WMA lands east of Forest Service Road 16 and east of the Conasauga River to the Cohutta Wilderness boundary

— WMA lands north of Forest Service Road 64 to Buddy Cove Gap and generally west of the Pinhoti Trail to Forest Service Road 126

— WMA lands north of Forest Service Road 126 and generally west of the Benton MacKaye Trail to the Wilderness boundary

— Forest Service Road 51 (East Cowpen/Jigger Creek)

— Forest Service Road 126 (Elliot Road/West Fork Jacks River)

— Forest Service Road 18 between Emery Creek Trailhead Parking Lot and Shanty Creek is closed to motorized vehicles because of a landslide

— Forest Service Road 630D (Rocky Flats) is closed to motorized vehicles because of a sinkhole.

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