Cherokee county firefighters unite to help battle wildfires in - KOAM TV 7

Cherokee county firefighters unite to help battle wildfires in western Kansas


 Firefighters out of Galena, Baxter Springs and Columbus answered the call to help other fire crews fighting wildfires that have claimed property and lives. They  believe the effort was simply returning a favor.

Baxter Springs assistant chief Cory Moates explained the vastness of the wildfire. He said, "That fire there is over six hundred  thousand acres. Cherokee county is just five hundred seventy-five acres."

A wildfire damage perspective after Moates and seven other returned from lending support to fire crews in Hutchinson, Ashland and Reno county Kansas.

Captain Jeremy Fields of the Galena fire department said, "The fire was contained. We put out hot spots, made sure the fire didn
t flare up anywhere. The wind was switching directions. We just contained it in containment area."

They show us a map of the fire and where they were positioned near an area of high end homes. They found million dollar properties burned. Watched black hawk helicopters drop water from the sky.  And witnessed a line of fire trucks formed to keep flames from crossing a road into more populated areas. They taped video of the destruction which was already immense and fire crews needed relief.

Volunteer Galena firefighter Justin Click said, "Firefighters out there were getting pretty fatigued.  They were getting tired. While we were there, we were able to give them the opportunity to take naps, rest, eat while we covered the areas that they may have been  covering for twelve to twenty-four hours before we got there."

Moates added,   "You're assigned a twelve  hour shift and when you
re out on calls like this, its very laboring on personnel  and machinery. So yeah you've got to have  people who are fresh and ready to go if you have a situation."

s heavy brush unit carries a thousand gallons of water and goes off road, while the  tanker truck from Galena, which carries two thousand gallons of water, had a few problems with the western Kansas terrain.
Click explained,   "We take a tanker that we use to go  off road  here, but out there it
s all sand and different soil types. We were unable to leave the roadways."

But he says putting out the fire was a goal they all shared. And in an area familiar with disaster it was a chance to give back.
Click said, "They come down for the Joplin tornado, Baxter tornado. I
m sure if we had wildfires like they do, they wouldnt hesitate drop a hat. Theyd be here."

 Columbus sent a truck with a crew of four. While Baxter and Galena each sent units with two firefighters
     They worked from 8 a-m Wednesday t

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