HCFR houses new equipment to fight wildfires

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - Carolina Forest Fire Station 45 is one of four stations to get an urban interface truck for the Horry County Fire Rescue department. It's a new fire engine specifically designed to better fight wildfires.

On Thursday, Captain Tim Rainbolt, with 16 years in specialized training in wildfires, will be training firefighters on the new truck and how to best deploy during a wildfire. Rainbolt recently helped fight the rim fire in California that burned hundreds of thousand of acres last year. So he knows a thing or two about how dangerous wildfires can be.

"You are dealing with Mother Nature," said Rainbolt. "You have to consider if it has been dry or how are the fuels are going to be burning, and if you get the wind with the topography."

Those factors are how things quickly got out of control just five years ago when the Highway 31 wildfire set ablaze. That was the worst wild fires in South Carolina's history.

Thanks to the urban interface truck, putting out a blaze just got faster.

Special attachments allow firefighters to extend their lines and hook up new lines to travel in different directions.

Battalion Chief Brian VanAernem says having the trucks will improve response times.

"Our primary goal when we go to a fire is structure protection, and the State Forestry Commission's role is for the wildfires; but nowadays, with all interface and our rapid response, we are there a lot faster than the commission therefore we can assist them," said VanAernem.

Wildfires are pretty common in South Carolina.

According to the Wildfire Forestry Commission, there were nearly 100 wildfires in 2012, in Horry County alone.

Hopefully, Horry County Fire Rescue won't have to use the new equipment, but if crews do, they'll be prepared.

Four stations are getting the new engines. Around 20 firefighters will be trained Thursday. The training will take about two months and when complete, they will be wildfire certified.

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