Firefighters are on the ground, in the air - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters are on the ground, in the air

April 18, 2007

Ware County -- The wild fire in Ware County has been blazing now for three days.  Crews from all over South Georgia are working to put that fire out, but now fires are threatening other areas near by and forestry teams are working over time to get them both out.

Anytime a wild fire gets out of control, the Georgia Forestry Commission is called in to help. And the fire in Ware County is no exception. While ground crews plow fire breaks to keep the fire from spreading, pilots are performing important duties from the air.

From a birds eye view, a forestry pilot will guide helicopters to the nearest source of water and then to the area that the water is needed most.    "We communicate with equipment on the ground, other fire fighters, volunteers, and forces in the air and try to put the fire out the best way that we see how in the air," said GA Forestry Pilot Todd Bright.

But To battle this 20,000 acre wild fire, they've also had to call for help. They are being assisted by Chinook helicopters that can drop one thousand gallons of water and C-130's that can drop 2,400 gallons. 

The forestry officials say it's very rare for then to bring in these types of reinforcements and it hasn't been done in South Georgia for several years.  But from what we saw in the air, teams here in Waycross are going to need the back up.

While it's being contained to the 20,000 acres right now firefighters can't seem to get a break.  The wind has picked up again and now forestry officials are also working to battle a 1,000 acre fire in Fargo.

Just to give you an idea of what these fire fighters and forestry officials are dealing with, that massive cloud of smoke towering over the county is about 8,000 feet tall.