Firefighters Battle Hot Spots In Wildfire

Firefighters spent another day battling a Jackson County woods fire, tackling the last of the hot spots.

A wildfire that scorched nearly a thousand acres in East Jackson County continues to smolder tonight. Fire crews from several agencies spent the day dealing with scattered flare ups.

The Forts Lake-Franklin Creek fire department has been working the front lines since the blaze began.

Smoke swirled through the smoldering woods as volunteer firefighters knocked down hot spots.

Melba Schafer joined the Forts Lake-Franklin Creek fire department 18 years ago.

"I feel like that's something I can do for my community."

Job satisfaction comes in the form of heartfelt thanks from neighbors.

"I talked to a lady this morning. Tears came to her eyes thanking us for what we'd done, saving her house," Schafer said.

Keeping the fire knocked down today is a much easier assignment than when the blaze was burning out of control Thursday afternoon. Shifting winds kept the fire line moving quickly.

Carlene Brown helped fight the fire both days.

"With how dry it is and how bad the wind was blowing yesterday, pretty fast. And we had a lot of homes in danger."

The problem now is hot spots popping up. Melba Schafer aims the hose and quickly knocks down the flare ups. These volunteers understand the importance of teamwork. It's especially important when conditions can change so quickly.

"It's very important. You don't ever leave a person in the woods by themselves. We don't ever go in the woods by ourselves. We stay together. We work together," said firefighter, Deborah Davis.

There's something a little different about the Forts Lake-Franklin Creek firefighting team. It's mostly female. Women make up the largest part of this department's day shift.

"During the day, the guys work. Some of the women work. I usually sub at the school. Today I didn't happen to be subbing, which was a good thing. But you know, when we're home, we respond," said Davis.

It's the kind of response neighbors can be appreciate.