Fire crews get new gear just in time for fall wildfire season

New wildfire-fighting gear has arrived in Horry County. Fire Station No. 27 in Aynor was the first to get the gear and began to test it out on Tuesday.

Four fire stations in different parts of the county will get the gear, which includes new brush trucks, water tanks that will fit onto four-wheelers, and lightweight hoses.

Typically, the South Carolina Forestry Commission will fight wildfires. However, vegetation will still smolder, and Horry County Assistant Fire Chief Justin Gibbins says the fire department will receive calls from residents about non-threatening flare-ups that will happen after it's contained.

He says the new gear will allow crews to get to these fires, which were difficult to reach with their old gear.

"We'll actually be able to go in it and do mop up procedures with this additional equipment, which will reduce the smoke and the amount of time neighbors are having to see flare-ups," said Gibbins.

As a result, crews will be able to extinguish smaller fires and cut back on the time people will have to be exposed to smoke and other unfavorable conditions.

It will also help the fire departments cover more ground if they have to respond to several emergencies.

"Once this equipment gets here, we can free up the fire engines to respond to other emergencies. They're not tied up on the scene of these calls for extended times," Gibbins said.

Over the next weeks, the other three fire stations will get the gear and be trained on it before the start of fall wildfire season.