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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Low water complicates firefighting

Low water complicates firefighting

Virginia News

Low water complicates firefighting

By Sean Muserallo, NBC12 News

Declining water supplies are affecting how well some area firefighters are able to protect people’s homes. A dry, windy day like Friday can be the perfect combination for disaster.

If that happened Friday, Hanover fire officials aren’t so sure they would have enough water to put it out.

Some people in the area don’t rely on fire hydrants. They rely on ponds, streams and lakes, so when there is a fire, how quickly it’s put out depends on how fast firefighters can get water sources to the scene.

If there’s a fire in the rural part of Hanover, you’ll see a tanker that shuttles 3,000 gallons of water to the scene. It’s dumped into a holding tank and then pumped out of another truck to douse a blaze.

Once that truck is out of wet stuff, it has to refuel. One sad-looking stream used to be one of several water sources firefighters would tap into. That isn’t the case now.

Deputy Fire Marshal Willie Jones says that if water keeps evaporating, his crews will have to travel farther out to get enough water to knock out a decent-sized fire.

“We’ve done all we can do,” Jones said. “We can supply the water. We can extinguish fires, but we just ask for our citizens to be extra careful. If it became a large brushfire and the wind got it today, I don’t know how far it could go before we could suppress it.”

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