Two Wadesboro firefighters went west on Nov. 13 to help fight a wildfire in Rutherford County.
David Hanna and Scott Martin took a brush truck to Lake Lure to help fight the Party Rock fire, one of many fires burning across North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
Wadesboro Fire Chief Marc Sessions said that his department received a request for help on Nov. 12, and that Hanna and Martin left at 7 a.m. the next day for seven days.
“They have been working night shifts providing structural protection and building fire lines,” Sessions said via email. “Mayor (Bill) Thacker and the town council believes it is important to support our neighbors with resources and personnel in their time of need. The dedication of the volunteer firefighters exemplifies their commitment to service above self.”
Both firefighters have had I and II training, wildland fire suppression classes and “other various classes,” Sessions said.
“The town administration has been very supportive of this mission,” he said.
Both Hanna and Martin have been with the town for about eight years, according to town manager Alex Sewell.
Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Nov. 10, when there were more than 20 wildfires in the western region of the state due to a drought.
“As eastern North Carolina was underwater due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the western part of the state has been suffering from a severe drought and now hundreds of acres are burning,” McCrory said in a press release. “This declaration will help facilitate evacuations as needed and provide further state assets to help combat the wildfires and support North Carolinians displaced by the fires. This is extremely dangerous work and I especially want to thank the firefighters, first responders, sheriffs and other emergency personnel that have risked their own lives to protect our citizens and property.”
The state of emergency affected 25 counties.
“More than 2,000 personnel from North Carolina and other states are involved in fighting fires throughout the region that have burned more than 46,000 acres,” a separate release from the governor’s office said Nov. 16. “The estimated cost of these fires has now reached more than $15 million.”
As of 10:46 a.m. Nov. 21, the North Carolina Forest Service reported that there were several active fires and that conditions were prime for more.
“Preliminary reports show that 57 wildfires burned about 274.5 acres on private and state-owned land in N.C. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016,” the site sad.
The Party Rock fire had burned 7,171 acres and was 45 percent contained as of Nov. 21, according to the Forest Service’s website. A total of 925 personnel had worked on the fire.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.