Crews work to put Quacco wood chip fire out

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - You may have noticed some smoke over the past few days near Quacco road. Crews are working around the clock to prevent the smoke from a fire at a tree clearing business from becoming a problem for area drivers.

"The gentleman takes logs and stumps and grinds them into wood chips to sell them and when we got here 60 percent of product was on fire and endangering equipment," said Pooler Fire Department Chief Wade Simmons.

The fire which sparked Saturday engulfed four piles of wood chips and logs that stood about 30 feet high and scorched portions of the surrounding woods.

"Because of its size, the amount fire and the location we were unable to extinguish the fire, so what we did is protect the gentlemens' equipment that was in the wood piles," said Chief Simmons. "We were able to protect it, until he got his personal here and got it removed and at that point we had Georgia Forestry came in and dis a break around it."

The owner lost two pieces of equipment in the fire, but there was a ray of hope that his business was not lost.

"The owner is very upset, but appreciative we could protect his equipment," said Chief Simmons. "He got $1 million dollars of equipment saved."

With the wood still burning, crews have been put to work trying to chip away at the fire.

With the early morning patchy fog firefighters are monitoring these charred wood piles around the clock. On Monday, they were trying to break up some of those wood piles to prevent heavy smoke from bothering area drivers.

"Trying to break the wood up, so it burns more efficiently so we can get the smoke to rise and not lay down over the neighborhoods and effect traffic on I 95 especially," said Chief Simmons.

No business's or homes are threatened by the fire. The biggest concern is the direction of the winds and the smoke caused by this controlled blaze.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be on scene Monday afternoon to determine if they will let the fire burn out or if firefighters need to try and put it out. The owner of the company lost $100,000 worth of wood chips alone.

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