USA –Firefighters from the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) are responding once again to a wildfire emergency in the south. Eleven division employees, comprising an engine strike team, reported to North Carolina on Saturday.
The team consists of five type VI engines (four-wheel drive pickup trucks with 200-gallon water tanks and foam capabilities), 10 firefighters and one strike team leader. The crew makes the fourth team sent to assist another state since early June.
KDF Director and Kentucky State Forester Leah MacSwords said the assignment was requested late last week by the North Carolina Forest Service through the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact. The crew has been assigned to the Juniper Road Fire that started on June 19 and has burned in excess of 30,000 acres. Although the fire is currently 85 percent contained, in the absence of rainfall, the fire continues to smolder, flare and torch trees along the perimeters. Kentucky crews will be monitoring for new ignitions across containment lines and assisting with mop-up and patrol of all containment lines.
Kentucky has been a member of the Southern Area Forest Fire Protection Compact since it was established in the early 1950s. Member states help each other to the extent they can, depending on their own wildfire status, according to KDF. Division staff will be on compact detail for 14 days plus travel days, and the receiving state will reimburse KDF for all personnel and equipment costs.
Forestry officials encourage public land managers, landowners and homeowners to help prevent wildfires during all times of he year.