[UPDATE] Controlled Burn May Have Led to Thomasville Rd. Crashes

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

UPDATED 3.27.2012 10:52am by Julie Montanaro

A Florida Department of Transportation Spokesman says smoke from a controlled burn may have led to four crashes on Thomasville Road this morning.

DOT spokesman Ian Satter says poor visibility may have caused a crash at the intersection of County Road 12 and three more crashes at the intersection of Sunny Hill Road. Satter says two of the cars overturned. Satter did not have any information on the extent of the injuries or the location of the controlled burn.

A stretch of Thomasville Road was closed from County Road 12 to the Georgia Line because of the smoky conditions.

Lt. Jeff Frost with FHP says the road has been reopened, but that drivers should exercise caution in the area and that troopers will continue to monitor the situation.

A report about one of the accidents is attached in PDF format above.


UPDATE: 3/27/12 10:41am

The roads have been opened, according to Lt. Jeff Frost with the Florida Highway Patrol. Lt. Frost urges motorists to use caution as smoke is still in the area.


UPDATE: 3/27/12 9:25am

CLEARED: Tallahassee: On SR-61 N and Cherokee Plantation Rd. the roadway is completely blocked due to a crash and smoke.


UPDATE: 3/27/12 7:54am

Authorities have moved the road block farther down. It is clear to drive by Chiles High School, but Thomasville Road is blocked at Proctor Road. Heavy smoke is still visible. Traffic is not backed up.

FHP Troopers are telling drivers to take Meridian Road north to Thomasville.

Click on the "Photos" tab to view pictures


UPDATE: 3/27/12 7:39am

US 319 from Proctor Road to the Georgia state line is closed due to heavy smoke on the road.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office says that Thomasville Road (US 319) from Chiles High School to the Georgia state line is closed due to heavy smoke on the road.

County Road 12 is also closed between Meridian Road and Thomasville Road.

As an alternate use Meridian Road in your morning commute.

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  • by Jason Location: Thomasville on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:40 AM
    A North/North West Wind doesn't mean that it was a bad day to burn, for many of us we have to have a North or North West wind to burn areas that are going to be sensitive to a fire getting too hot, the reason being that a North or northwest wind stays much steadier than any other wind. Anybody with any burning experience knows this, and also knows that an East wind or a South wind will blow out of the other directions just as much as it will the East or the South, constantly switching directions, and allowing a fire with a heavy fuel load (planted pines, wiregrass) to get out of control and hot enough to even damage older thinned timber. Prescribed fire is necessary and provides landowners a way in which they can protect their property and assets ESPECIALLY along major roadways, because all it takes is on cigarette out the window onto the side of the road and a fire could destroy millions of dollars worth of timber, not to mention a great hinderance to the local wildlife. What most people forget is that hundreds of years ago, before anyone was here other than Indians, Nature took care of itself and burned these areas on its own. Most species of plants and trees throughout the Red Hills are fire dependant species. The people that wish to stop the prescribed fire because they have to inhale a little smoke in the evening, or drive through it on their way to work, might as well wish that it doesn't rain so they don't get their cars dirty or have to wear a rain jacket, because it would be a slight temporary inconvenience. Landowners or Managers should do their best to post where their are going to be possible smoke hazards to the public, i.e. along roadways. At the same time a responsible driver should slow down whether they are driving through, smoke, fog, heavy rain, etc.
  • by shadow on Mar 28, 2012 at 03:36 AM
    Controlled burns are a necessity, agreed. However, there should be better notification of these burns to the public, especially those suffering from lung conditions. In addition, I do not agree with the person that said they take into account factors. A north/NW wind of 10 to 15 mph was not a good day to burn. A much larger area was affected than what needed to be.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
    You my friend are poorly informed and your ignorance in this matter is showing
  • by dean Location: Ga on Mar 27, 2012 at 05:36 PM
    I drive this road every week between thomasville and tallahassee. If you drive 65 mph in the 65 mph speed zones then people will come around you running like a bat out of hell.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
    Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters are on the scene of an approximately 900-acre wildfire in Gulf County for the second straight day, according to a release from the Forest Service. SO TELL ME AGAIN WHY WE HAD A CONTROLLED BURN YESTERDAY?
    • reply
      by anon on Mar 27, 2012 at 03:13 PM in reply to Anonymous
      Well, maybe because we are not in Gulf County and controlled burns is apart of wildfire prevention.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 05:41 PM in reply to Anonymous
      You are an idiot
  • by Jacki Location: Cairo on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM
    I was on Thomasville road this morning and passed one of the crashes in the southbound lanes right after it happened. The smoke was so thick it went from clear, easy driving, to zero visibility with no warning. All of a sudden you could no longer see the road or the cars ahead of you, just the glow of their brake lights. The smell of smoke was so strong it was nearly breath taking inside my vehicle.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM
    I think that the landowner should be held responsible. Similarly, if I stood on the side of the highway and threw a bucket of mud on your windsheild, I would be held responsible if you cannot see and you crash, right?
    • reply
      by Roadhound on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM in reply to
      Florida law is very specific about a landowner's responsibility for damages arising from control burn activites. The vast majority of control burns are not conducted by landowners but by certified burn operators, and sometimes state forestry officials. Before they even light the fire they must take into account the fire's effect on "burn sensative areas" even though somethings are impossible to predict (i.e. adverse weatther conditions such as wind). Assuming the steps set forth in the control burn statute are followed, there is no legal liability absent a showing of gross negligence which, legally speaking, is just this side of an "intentional." Bottom line, we need control burns to protect against wildfires and to promote healthy forests but sometimes bad things happen. If mistakes were made and the statute was not followed, there is already mechanism in place for assigning fault for resulting damages. However, People still have a responsibility to drive defensively and you can't automatically assume that because something bad happens it is someone else's fault.
  • by FYI on Mar 27, 2012 at 09:46 AM
    Home Depot on Cap Cir NE got in 4 truck loads of plants yesterday. just sayin.
  • by Sarah Location: Tallahassee on Mar 27, 2012 at 09:44 AM
    Bad conditions may contribute but do not cause wrecks. People, drivers, still have the last say as to their actions; ie: speed, following distance, or just pulling over and wait for conditions to clear. Stop living in your own little world where you see everything from your point of view. Control burns are necessary and create more advantages than disadvantages.
  • by NSB Location: Tallahassee on Mar 27, 2012 at 09:31 AM
    Right now (noon), click on Current AQ @ http://airnow.gov/ (for the US) or http://airnow.gov/?action=airnow.local_city&zipcode=32301&submit=Go (for TLH) and see how TLH has the DIRTIEST air in the US!! I agree with those who say the FFS needs quit smoking us. They KNOW how to burn with minimal smoke impact and that's what they're supposed to do. One must keep complaining to: DEP, Air Resource Mgt. Division.
    • reply
      by J on Mar 27, 2012 at 02:09 PM in reply to NSB
      There you go, complain, what an original idea.
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