Traffic was diverted temporarily from north and southbound lanes of Interstate 185 Thursday afternoon after smoke from nine grass fires created a hazard for motorists, the Georgia State Patrol said.
A trooper spokesman said the traffic was diverted between Exit 9 Highway 315 and Exit 25 at Highway 116 about 5:17 p.m. Normal traffic resumed on the highway more than four hours later at 9:33 p.m.
North and southbound lanes on the road were blocked after authorities received calls about visibility on the roadway.
At least nine grass fires were set Thursday afternoon in Muscogee and Harris counties along Interstate 185, according to the Columbus Fire Department.
Columbus Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said that the fires started about 3:40 p.m. along the northbound side of the interstate, just north of J.R. Allen Parkway and Double Churches Road.
Shores said that at least three fires were set in Columbus; six set in Harris County.
He said that the grass fires appear mischievous in nature and that, more dangerously, they are spreading into nearby neighborhoods.
Anyone who has information on who has set the fires is encouraged to call Fire Investigations at 706-329-0025. The number is operated 24/7.