Laurens County firefighters traveled to Pickens County this week, joining crews from both North and South Carolina in an attempt to contain the wildfire at Pinnacle Mountain.
Fire Coordinator Greg Lindley said nine Laurens County firefighters were deployed this week, including two from Durbin Creek, three from Gray Court, three from Youngs and one from Western Laurens. Lindley said the teams took also took a brush truck from Gray Court and Durbin Creek, as well as an engine from Western Laurens.
Starting on Wednesday, the nine firefighters left around 5 a.m. each day, arriving in Pickens by 6:30 a.m., then worked 12 hour shifts before returning home around 7:00 each night.
Lindley said the crew from Laurens County is just a small part of a multi-state effort to control the fire at Pinnacle Mountain that includes both the North Carolina and South Carolina Forestry Commissions, as well as the National Guard, which is using Blackhawk helicopters to bring in buckets of water.
“This is a huge, major event,” he said. “I got a call yesterday and they said they never saw a command post like they have up there.”
On Thursday, the firefighters from Laurens County were part of a 2,000-acre burnout that encompassed both sides of Table Rock, extending north to the Table Rock Reservoir and south to the Pinnacle Lake area.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission said the burnout is designed to remove fuel and help secure the eastern edge of the fire before high winds arrive on Saturday. The SCFC said about 70 families were being evacuated from the area in advance of the burnout, which they said will create a large amount of smoke. As of Thursday, the SCFC said the fire was about 35 percent contained and had spread to approximately 3,638 acres.
Lindley said the state’s Firefighter Mobilization Coordinator hasn’t yet requested any help for the weekend, but if that call comes he plans to send a fresh crew.
“Any time we can assist we try to do what we can,” he said. “If something bad happened in Laurens County, we’d need help to come in.”
That’s how mutual aid is supposed to work, Lindley said, praising his crew for their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“These firefighters are all volunteers from the Laurens County Fire Department,” he said. “They’re taking time away from their jobs and families to help their fellow firefighters in this community. I can’t say enough about them.”