The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) deployed one Ground Support Unit Leader to Colorado, where this individual will assist state and federal partners with wildfire suppression efforts. This individual is normally stationed in Region Three of the Mississippi Forestry Commission, which serves the counties of Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Covington, Hinds, Issaquena, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Lauderdale, Madison, Newton, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Warren, Wayne, and Yazoo. His name will be released upon his safe return to Mississippi in approximately two weeks.
“We appreciate our employees taking part in these efforts to help our state and federal partners in Colorado. Fighting the destructive power of wildfire means that our Wildland Firefighters are working in extreme conditions protecting people’s lives, homes, and forestland,” said Charlie Morgan, State Forester. “We are proud of his service and look forward to his safe return home in approximately two weeks.”
The Spring Creek Wildfire is estimated to have burned over 54,000 acres according to reports released on July 6, 2018. The Spring Creek Wildfire has destroyed at least 132 homes and damaged another 119 homes; estimated to be 45 percent contained at this time.
How the Mississippi Forestry Commission fights wildfires
MFC Wildland Firefighters “fight fire with fire”. They create a fire line (aka fire break) by using bulldozers to plow through vegetation (down to mineral soil) around the perimeter of the wildfire, then they light a controlled backfire along the inner edge of the fire line to consume additional vegetation – this lack of “fuel” for the wildfire creates a barrier to slow or stop the spread of the wildfire. However, their job is not yet finished – even after containment has been reached, wildland firefighters continue to monitor the area. Since the wind can spread hot embers across fire lines, new spot fires may occur as far away as one-half mile from the original wildfire that must be suppressed. Depending on the size, location, wind conditions, and intensity of the wildfire it may have to be monitored anywhere from several hours to several days to make sure the wildfire is no longer a threat to life, property, or forestland.