Wildfires costing volunteer fire departments thousands

(WVLT)- A little bit of wind and no moisture is the perfect recipe for disaster, or in this case hundreds of acres of wildfire.

"That's the biggest I've seen in our area," said Captain Sammy Solomon with the New Market Volunteer Fire Department.

He was one of the first to arrive to the 114 acre wildfire in Jefferson County.

"It was very stressful because at the time you're responding to this one we get another call over on Hodges Road and it was out of control. It burned about 50 acres and then we got another call. It was just like run here, run there."

All that running can add up. Solomon estimates the department spent 40-thousand dollars just this weekend.

"It takes a lot to keep those vehicles running." he said they run on diesel and to keep the water pumping the trucks have to stay on.

That doesn't include dozens of other departments that helped.

It took more than 170 firefighters to put out the blaze.

Assistant Forester with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Nathan Waters, says even with a burn permit you need to be careful this time of the year.

"Either they'll put it too close to the woods or too close to the grassland...if you're going to have a big fire, you need to make sure you have enough tools on hand to contain it, you know watch the weather."

Many volunteer departments like New Market rely on the community for funding. Solomon says one of their trucks will need repair after getting stuck during the call.

It isn't illegal to burn, as long as you have a permit. Waters also suggests that you contact your local fire department before you burn.

"You're allowed to burn in certain areas, we just require that you do it safely."

Another fire in Campbell County scorched a total of 250 acres, it's being investigated as arson.


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