MS Forestry Firefighters prepare to leave for NC (Source: WLBT)
PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Firefighters with the Mississippi Forestry Commission are in North Carolina to help stop an advancing wildfire. We were in Pearl Sunday morning to see them off as they prepared for the tough mission ahead.
"Whoever calls needs assistance, that's where we go," said Firefighter Crew Boss Randy Giachelli. The crew chief of the Mississippi Forestry Commission firefighters is answering the call of service and headed to Bald Knob North Carolina to battle a raging wildfire. It has consumed about a thousand acres in the Pisgah National Forest since starting July 17th. "They just had the Wolf Creek fire start up not too far from it and what's happening is it's smoking out a lot of towns there and it's getting into a health risk with the residents there. So they're trying to get this thing out for health reasons," said Giachelli.
Sunday morning the 20 member team weighed their gear and was briefed on the tough fight ahead in a difficult landscape. "They'll be actually on the line, putting in fire lanes and a lot of this is gonna be done by hand, with hand tools.Traditionally it's not the way we fight fire here in Mississippi where we use bulldozers with fire plows on them. They're gonna go out there in mountainous terrain where not really a good access for bulldozers," said Bill Kitchings with the MS Forestry Commission. This group is taking sleeping bags and tents, ready if necessary to camp out in the rugged woodland. For 14 days they will be on the ground 12 to 14 hours a day, giving their all but getting more in return. "We'll have an assault team, hand tools and we'll be working with a dozer up there and helicopter drops," added Giachelli.
"Different methods of firefighting can kinda let our guys hone their skills using these other techniques to bring back here to Mississippi," added Kitchings. Other specialized firefighters with the State Forestry Commission are currently battling wildfires in California.