West Mims Fire threatens GA state park, crews work to protect it

As the West Mims Fire rages on in St. George, Ga., several miles away in Fargo, Ga. at the Stephen C. Foster State Park, crews with the Atlantic Wildfire Resources (AWR) worked to protect the park from the wildfire.

"We have hoses, cannons, water sprinklers," Melanie Banton with the Florida Forest Service said.

It took three days for crews with the AWR to lay six miles of water hoses, 201 sprinklers, and four water cannons.

"They are making sure they cover all the bases, roofs, ground, walls," Banton said.

Each structure is surrounded. Banton said it's all in an effort to protect 37 structures from being burned to the ground.

The industrial water cannons can spray 1100 gallons of water every minute.

"We don't have a lot of water to work with so we're conserving water by running the pumps a few times a day," Brandon Brice with AWR said.

Crews are getting the water from Billy Lake, inside the park. If the fire gets close, Brice said they can have the everything back up and running in 10 minutes.

The water cannons and sprinklers are the final line of defense. Crews used prescribed burning and dug a ditch to try to eliminate a fuel source to the fire, as a first line of defense.

"These precautions must be taken because right now, especially with the wind today, it's out of the southwest, so there's no wind to push that fire along," Banton said. "So, what it's going to do is sit there and start to seek out fuel. That means it can go in any direction at once."

"The park has been here a long time," Brice said. "It's seen numerous fires before. It's actively used for recreation and the wildlife. So, it's very important to protect these structures."

Crews plan to remain in the park as long as the West Mims Fire remains a threat.
 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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