Fighting Fires

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Time is always important when fighting a fire that has already destroyed about 700 acres. When homes and property are getting destroyed, these crews know their effort is appreciated.

In the forested area just south of Youngstown, the black scorched parts still contain some hot spots with smoke trickling and requiring extra attention by those fighting the fires.

Lt. Billy Wretch with the Bay County Fire Department says containing the fire is possible with all the crews working together.

"Cooperation between the Florida Division of Forestry and the Fire Department has been great. They've got their helicopters out working."

With about 50 people out here constantly monitoring any activity, it's becomes a team effort, each group having different tasks and then combining the effort after the initial tasks are done.

Chief Tom Hedges with the Bear Creek-Youngstown Fire Department says everyone knows their job when they arrive.

"When we come to these fires, houses are our main concern; Division of Forestry brings in the transport actually cut fire line, head the fire off and things like that."

And with homes stuck in the middle of the flames, it wasn't an easy job, but it was appreciated by the owners who gladly welcome the crews on their saved property.

Paul Skinner and his wife Laura turned their front yard into the headquarters for all the crews, gladly helping out those who help them.

"It's scary, but they did a good job and they and we're comfortable with it because they put a stop right to it."

The cause is still under investigation, but some think it may have been accidentally set. In the meantime, Lt. Wretch says be careful, it's dry out there.

"We fire witness level three right now, so really there should be no outdoor burning. It's really crucial people watch what they do because it's so dry."

If you have any questions about controlled burning, call your local fire department and they can advise you whether it's safe to burn.


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