Hydrant on wheels, the utility of the brush truck

By Laura Geller - bio | email | facebook

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Starting around noon Saturday almost every fire station in Henrico was sent to a brush fire. Flames raged fast and furious through the woods of Dorey Park with the fuel of brush, trees and leaves in every direction.

Wind, low humidity, and dried out trees and land conditions make a dangerous situation potentially devastating. We followed the smoke plumes with Captain Chris Buehren.

"It could be just the slightest spark that could start very quickly an intense raging inferno as far as brush fires we haven't seen before in quite some time," he said.

Fighting wildfires like this one is nothing like battling a building fire. The hazards for the fire department are everywhere. Navigating the woods in these smokey, rapidly changing conditions can be treacherous.

"There's no fire hydrants close by. We have to haul our water in," said Buehren. "There's no length of hose long enough to get the hose back to the fire."

Tankers carrying upwards of 2,000 gallons are basically fire hydrants on wheels. They load smaller brush trucks like this one to deliver water directly to these flames. This fire scorched about two acres of the park. Buehren says it could have been worse in an instant.

"You're talking about a 45mph wind blowing dry fuel across an open field into the woods that's less than thirty seconds," he said.

Henrico also opened its county emergency operations center to help coordinate firefighting efforts.

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