Savannah Firefighters Return from Fighting Georgia Wildfires - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/16/07

Savannah Firefighters Return from Fighting Georgia Wildfires

Capt. Thad Dixon was greeted by his wife Patty when he returned Wednesday night. Capt. Thad Dixon was greeted by his wife Patty when he returned Wednesday night.

Depending on which way the wind blows, you can smell the smoke here at home or in Atlanta, even Miami. Hundreds of thousands of acres are burning as the wildfires cross borders between Florida and Georgia.

Many of our local firefighters are helping contain the fire in Atkinson County. Wednesday night, four firefighters from Savannah returned after spending the past nine days living in a swamp and battling blazes.

They're leaving their families behind to help.

"When he was asked to come back, he stepped up to the plate and said absolutely," said Patty Dixon, whose husband is a firefighter for Savannah Fire.

Around 9pm Wednesday, Capt. Thad Dixon and firefighter Mike Dodd pulled up to the Savannah Fire House and could only describe their experience as one thing: "Hell on earth," said Capt. Dixon.

Dixon is just one of four Savannah firefighters who have spent the past few days living in a swamp. "The area we were working in was dirty, nasty work, but it was necessary to keep the fire in that area from flaring up again," he said.

Our firefighters were in an area called Round-about Swamp, fighting more than just fires.  "There were a lot of rattle snakes, water moccasins and an alligator that took over one of the draft ponds we were using," said Capt. Dixon.

While the conditions were new to them, they did what they had to do to get the job done. "You've got the swamp, the peat that goes down 25 feet, so you have fire burning from underground and the only way you can really get all that fire out is to have plenty of rain, which we have had none of," said Capt. Dixon.

Even though they are glad to be back home with their families, they say if they were needed again, they would pack up and leave.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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