Dozens of volunteer firefighters are thanked for helping keep the community safe during the dangerous fire. Small plumes of smoke were still visible Monday throughout these woods in the Helena Community. It's a grim reminder of the devastating weekend forest fire.
"If you look at these trees now a lot of these pines won't recover from this. We lost a lot of vegetation. The actual overall fire was over 518 acres that is the official number," Chief Donnie Lowery said.
Escatawpa Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donnie Lowery and volunteer firefighter Billy Tyson say the high winds made the weekend fire a never ending nightmare to fight.
"In my career this is the largest woods fire I have dealt with," Lowery said.
"We stayed out here until 11 p.m. Friday night. We were back again Saturday morning. And some of the volunteers were out with a truck yesterday supplying the forestry with water to get the hotspots," firefighter Billy Tyson said.
They say it was wonderful to see more than 40 volunteer firefighters from across the county step up to help the other emergency agencies battle the fast moving blaze.
"The key to this one was the volunteer fireman that was the key to this one. Sandhill Crane had wonderful equipment that allowed us to get a grasp on the fire. The Mississippi Forestry has great equipment and the volunteer firefighters defended the lines," Lowery said.
Thankfully, no one was injured and no homes were damaged. The firefighters hope the huge blaze will show why it is important for people to think about being volunteers, so they could lend a hand to keep their communities safe.
"A lot of communities can't afford a fire department, and if it weren't for volunteers a lot of homes, property, and a lot of lives would be lost," Tyson said.
Officials said the cause of the fire was outdoor burning. The guilty party has assumed responsibility for the blaze. Fire officials are encouraging people not to do any outdoor burning during this time when the winds are high and the humidity is low.