Wednesday, September 5, 2018

O'Quinn on S.C. Crew Fighting Western Wildfires

Scott O'Quinn stands on scorched earth at 6690-feet in Colorado
The S.C. Fire Crew on duty in Colorado
Ample rains have kept the Lowcountry from drought in 2018, but the national news shows the Western United States has not been as fortunate. Wildfires burning out of control in several states have federal and local fire crews united in the cause of saving lives and saving homes. Experienced wildland firefighters from across the country go out West in two week shifts in order to provide manpower, and a fire crew from South Carolina was called up for duty from August 13 - 29. Colleton County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Scott O’Quinn accepted the call to go out West and fight fire with the elite 20-man crew from across the Palmetto State.

Cabin in remote area that S.C. crew saved from wildfire
“Scott O’Quinn is already at a supervisor level here at Colleton County Fire Rescue,” said Chief Barry McRoy. “His late father was a volunteer firefighter who helped establish the Hendersonville fire station, so Scott got interested at a young age in what we do. He works very hard for our community and is an asset for our department. Going out West peaks his interest in forest lands fires, and we are glad he returned safe and is back on the job here at home.”

The S.C. fire crew flew from Columbia to Denver, Colorado and brought their own boots, clothing and hard hats. A federal supply store provided them with firefighting hand tools. Their first deployment was to the Cabin Fire in Meeker, Colorado and their assignment was structural protection, and not fire containment. At 5000-acres the fire was already widespread and the 8020-feet elevation can affect fire behavior. They spent several nights in the outdoors ‘fire camp’ that provides portable toilets, office space, catered meals and resembles a military operation.

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian. 

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