Seminole County Volunteer Fire Rescue, Iron City Fire Rescue, and Spring Creek Fire Department recently received assistance from the Georgia Forestry Commission to help combat wildfire risks associated with 2018’s Hurricane Michael. A great number of vegetative debris resulting from the storm remains on the ground, causing concern for fire suppression personnel and the equipment needed to combat wildfire.
Through a Volunteer Fire State Fire Assistance Grant from the US Forest Service, a variety of equipment and personal protective gear will be distributed to 31 Georgia counties most seriously impacted by the hurricane. The $168,210 award will supply county fire departments with 284 National Fire Protection Agency-approved wildland fire coveralls and 1,508 rolls of fire hose. They will be distributed equally to the local fire departments, with the assistance of GFC’s Chief Rangers in each county.
The massive amount of storm debris still littering these counties has increased fuel loads and will be available to burn during wildfires for several years. These fires are also known to be very intense, and the debris barriers add to the complexity of suppression operations. Many of these high-risk areas are near homes and other structures within wildland urban interface zones. Due to the increased risk to fire suppression personnel, vehicles, and equipment and their inability to penetrate these areas in a safe and effective manner, the use of normal and direct suppression tactics may not be appropriate. In these areas, it is anticipated that indirect attack tactics will be required, and home and structure protection will be necessary. This equipment will greatly aid in these suppression factors.
For more information about this grant and equipment distribution, contact the local Georgia Forestry Commission office at 229- 524-6667