3:53pm

Tue June 21, 2011
Statehouse News

Kentucky Firefighters Head South

More Kentucky firefighters are headed south, this time to help battle wildfires in southeast Georgia.  Kentucky already has a crew in Florida.  Several fires are consuming large tracts of timberland and threatening homes in and around the Okefenokee Swamp near Waycross, Georgia.  Fire crews are stretched thin, so Kentucky is sending some help.

Leah McSwords of the Kentucky Division of Forestry says an engine strike team is headed south. 

 

“We are proud to be able to be able to send them 11 Division of Forestry employees, along with five, four-wheel drive pickups with 200 gallon water tanks, so we can help put out those fires," said McSwords.

The crew will spend two weeks in Georgia.  Another Kentucky strike team left last week for Florida, which is battling its own wildfires.

GOOD WILL

Leah McSwords says this isn't a first for Georgia, or Kentucky.

"We try to help each other when we can," said McSwords. "And in years past, Georgia has assisted Kentucky by sending firefighters to help us. And so we are returning that favor by sending our employees to help them."

 COSTS REIMBURSED

Leah McSwords says expenses for the Kentucky crews will be reimbursed. 

“They will be there about 14 days, plus the travel time between Kentucky and Georgia," said McSwords.  "And Georgia will reimburse us for the wages and for the equipment used and for any travel costs that we have.”

Same goes for Florida.  The states assist each other through the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.