Local Firefighters Help in Bladen Wildfire
Local fire departments are lending a hand to help battle a large wildfire in Bladen County near the Cumberland County line.
The Aberdeen and Southern Pines fire departments each sent an engine and a two-person crew, and Pinehurst sent a brush truck and two crew members to help fight a fire that has consumed more than 5,400 acres since it started on June 20.
The two members from each department will complete their seven-day shift this week and will be replaced, representatives from all departments said.
"Those boys have put in over 100 hours in a week," Aberdeen Fire Chief Phillip Richardson said. "They need a break. A lot of times when you go on an assist call, you hurry up and wait. In this case, they are working real hard."
Authorities have said the fire, which started after a lightning strike, is 70 percent contained. Most of the uncontained portion is in Bush Lake State atural Area.
To date, 177 personnel, 11 tractor plow units, 28 engines, a water tender, four helicopters and two air tankers have been used to battle the fire.
All three local departments said their services will not be adversely affected by lending personnel and equipment.
In fact, representatives from all three departments lauded the benefits of the experience for their firefighters.
"It will give our guys some valuable experience when it comes to fighting large fires and being part of a big operation like that," said Southern Pines Assistant Fire Chief Mike Cameron. "Plus, you never know when you might need that help in return."
Pinehurst Fire Chief Carlton Cole added, "Should we have an incident like that up here, then they know how to deal with and manage those larger incidents."
Fire department resources from across the state are in place to protect buildings and other structures and supply water to smaller engines on the fire line.
The personnel and equipment dispatched through State Emergency Management have provided relief to local fire departments. Numerous departments and other agencies have also responded to the call for help.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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