North Carolina got Slammed with Hurricane Matthew. It rained almost 4 in in Vienna and the storm bounced along the coast bringing the rain only a Hurricane can bring. Feet of rain in areas that flood with only inches of precipitation. The Huge storm sucked moisture off the ocean and out of the Mississippi Valley. The storm also started the weather pattern change forcing Western NC into the drought of the century.
Vienna has had a very active Fire year so far. Every fire this year has gotten into the attic . Each time we had a magnificent response and a quick knockdown. We depend on our mutual aid companies to assist and boost our manpower available. Our county response is really top notch. We have an excellent Fire suppression division that sends a truck to every mutual aid incident in Forsyth County. The experience and training is an asset to all departments.
The flooding in eastern NC caused widespread mutual aid dispatch for Water Rescue, FD standbys for inundated departments and a Tanker deployment to Brunswick Co. for a water system out of service. Richard and Kyle took 221 to Standby in Bolivia NC at the EOC. They stayed a week and had all the issues a Pumper/Tanker can have when having to draft all water and respond all over a large county. The State EOC put out the request for apparatus to get a list of those available. Chiefs responded and then came the deployment emails. The trucks were called one day and leaving the next.
The eastern floods took the news leads from the information business. While they were focused on Flood North Carolina was slowly staying warm and dry, Days turned in to weeks without any rain. Months and the Fires started. The NC Forest Service deployed our Rangers and Forester. Next came the call for Help at Lake Lure. A call out for Engines turned into a Mission. Many responded. Vienna had sent personnel just a month ago so I waited.
The drought became worse and the Structure Protection Branch needed Brush Trucks to assist Engines. Vienna Sent Jim and Brandon with 321 on a Tuesday. Tim and Richard were set to give relief on Friday. Jim and Brandon had drawn a mid day shift and stretched it into the night when told they had no relief crew. This put them on night shift and When the EOC asked for 321 to extend Jim and Brandon were ready to come home.
WE got the exchange ready for before the OPS briefing at 1830. We did not know what to expect but Richard and Tim took 621 and a half load of water and Gator-aid to Lake Lure and Party Rock. We arrived and I got my tent set up for the time. Richard was going to sleep in the Tent city at IOC . Alas we got deployed to BAT_CAVE Division and night shift.
It was very interesting to start seeing the huge operation that the Fire had turned into from the night perspective. Lines were holding and mop-up operations were in progress during daylight. At night we patrolled, stood -by , and stayed warm. We were inundated by kindness, given supplies and effusive thanks and shelter. Most of all we were well fed.
Fire Operations IOC was on the banks of the Broad River just as it enters Lake Lure. The entrance was controlled and had access to Showers, Fuel, Meals and a Supplies tent and area. We dropped off the Gator Aid and snacks. Again we were well thanked. The NC Baptist men had Manna 3 on the scene preparing meals for the whole fire. Each local FD also was used as either Staging or Command OPS center. Bat-Cave, Shumate, Broad Rivers Station #2 and Chimney Rock Station were used. All these stations had Volunteers, Food, Warmth, and the Mini-Wal-marts that we called the supply tables.
The fire existed in very dry undergrowth, leaf litter and down trees. It gained 1500ft of elevation from the burned black neat the Chimney Rock town Valley to the Higher elevations of Black Mt. The fire went up and moved down into Chimney Rock. Hand dug lines and amazing structure protection prevented all structures in Chimney rock from burning. Some fire lines worked all the way up and down. Lines were maintained by hand crews and Forestry Crews. We got a chance the third night to patrol with an ATV. those Dozier guys were Crazy. We drove a few miles of dozier and hand lines.
WE were demobilizes after 3 nights of patrol and were glad to return home. Sleep deprived and tired Tim and Richard came home. Thank goodness we had a short week and were able to rest for a few nights.
Go if you get the chance. Give of yourself, feel the Thanks of a Town and Community. See a large operation in action.
I am Blessed to be of Service,