Local fire departments were on the move on Wednesday afternoon when several blazes were being battled at the same time.
Clarkton Station 52 was paged to a fire on Big Bay Drive, a road off of the 8000 block of Twisted Hickory shortly after lunch time. With winding roads leading all through the woods, the responding firefighters, along with N.C. Forestry Service workers, searched for the origin of the fire for a short time before discovering the cause — a pine tree that had been struck by lightning, Glenn Watkins of the forestry service said.
During the fight to extinguish the fire, bombers were brought in to the airport with Elizabethtown Station 55 offering mutual aid to assist with filling the planes with water to be dropped on the flames.
“Bulldozers are still working on it today,” Watkins said Thursday morning. “We have a lot of ground fire and we’re going to have to stay with it until it’s out.”
Watkins said about five acres were involved.
Shortly after firefighters began the battle of outing the woods fire, a logging equipment fire was reported a short distance up the road.
The engine caught fire on the piece of equipment owned by Anthony Malpass, which was in the woods off of the 8000 block of Twisted Hickory near Britt Road, said Deputy Fire Chief Andy Coleman of Bladenboro Station 51. Clarkton’s department was the first paged to the equipment fire as well, but since the station’s firefighters were tied up on the Big Bay Drive fire, Bladenboro was paged as mutual aid.
Along with Station 51, Elizabethtown Station 55 and forestry also responded to the equipment fire. Personnel worked about an hour to get the blaze under control, Coleman said.
Bladen forestry workers have been on-the-go for several weeks assisting with the fires in Hyde County, Watkins said. Beginning in early June, one crew traveled to the area to assist with the total of more than 41,000 acres burning. After that crew stayed for a two-week stretch, another crew took their place for their two-week stay on the scene.
Though much of the local area has had the relief of some recent sporadic rainfall, conditions are still very dry, causing fires to spread quickly. Residents are encouraged to report any signs of smoke or fire as quickly as possible to assist fire departments with response times.