By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
Frightening photos from wildfires burning in North Carolina. Now before any of our firefighter brothers and sisters out west say, “That’s not a real wildfire,” please keep in mind that here in the eastern USA we don’t combat fires on the scale and magnitude that you do out west. That’s a fact, and you brave men and women prove it year in and year out.
But we don’t have anywhere near the trained people and incredible wildland firefighting resources that you have out west. The majority of these fires are likely being fought by volunteer firefighters, who while they may have some wildland firefighting training, lack the experience. And they’re likely working primarily from Type I engines and tenders, most of which are not designed for off-road operations. And with brush trucks (Type III, IV or V engines) that may carry 100 gallons of water.
And they likely don’t have much support from state agencies because many of those state agencies have seen budgets cut and people laid off. For example, here in West Virginia 37 state foresters (those primarily tasked with wildland firefighting responsibilities and providing assistance to volunteer fire departments) have been laid off due to budget cuts.
Are you and your family prepared to evacuate your home in the face of an approaching wildfire? Check out this link for important safety information that could save your life and the lives of those you love!
Going camping in the woods or forest? Check out this informative and educational piece, Campfire Safety Guide, from the Hiking Blog at Montem Outdoor Gear.