CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga (WSAV) – Right now crews from several local fire departments are helping out in the Okeefenokee swamp. A fire there has burned hundreds of acres and is threatening a small community in Charlton county.
Thousands of people have already been evacuated and more are being asked to leave. Over the weekend the call for aid came into several local departments.
At least a dozen firefighters from the county have gone to help fight the West Mims fire along the Georgia Florida state line.
“It makes me very proud actually to be honest with you to have firefighters willing to step up to travel a distance to do this,” says Garden City fire Chief Corbin Medeiros adding that, “This is actually very great, one for Garden city and for Chatham county because we’re not the only ones that have sent people, but this is great as Chatham county to say hey we can step up and help people.”
Crews from Garden City, Pooler as well as Savannah fire answered the call over the weekend to respond with aid to crews currently fighting the fires. The fires have been burning now for more than a month. Chief Medeiros says CEMA alerted the departments that aid was being requested as evacuations now spread from Charlton into Camden county.
“I do believe they went to the Waycross fires, the three that I did send down there, so it’s something they are used to and it’s all voluntary for which guys wanted to go or which personnel wanted to go, so they volunteered,” says Chief Medeiros.
Savannah fire has sent four crewmen as well as a bush fire vehicle. Pooler has sent an engine, their deputy chief as well as three firemen with a bush fire vehicle. Garden City has three members there with an engine.
Chief Medeiros should hear back from his crew Monday night if they will return. Pooler fire Chief Wade Simmons says shifting weather patterns may keep his crews down there and force the department to even send more and rotate in and out.