Are Region 8 Fire Fighters Ready for a Big Fire?

ASH FLAT, AR -- As acre upon acre of California burns down, some fire departments in Region 8 are taking a closer look at what they would do if something like that were to happen here.

"We haven't ever faced anything of that magnitude around here," said Stacy Horton.

Ash Flat Fire Chief Stacy Horton said they fight small fires every year, but a big one scares them.

"That's a big concern.  If the weather is just right and something like that happens we try to avoid that," said Horton.

Being ready for anything is what's most important and they have the tools and the training to do it, including a new brush truck.

"We have one man on duty 24 hours a day.  If we get called out to a brush fire or something similar to that we can operate this truck from inside the cab," said Horton.

Sharp County is like a lot of Region 8 in that it's surrounded by forest and when these guys battle a fire they have a method of attack.

"When we get there we do the best we can as far as hitting the head of the fire and making sure no structures are in danger," said Horton.

They said their primary goal is to protect houses or other buildings that would be in the line of the fire.

"If we can't handle it and it gets into the woods where we can't get to it then the forestry's called and they come in and bring their dozers and we'll continue to protect the structures," said Horton.

Marc Phillips works in Sharp and Fulton Counties for the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

"We work in conjunction with one another.  If they get called out on a grass fire, woods fire, house fire," said Phillips.

The forestry department uses an in-direct attack, basically fighting fire with fire.

"Once our fire burns to that fire it actually widens our line so we're indirectly putting that fire out  by containing it," said Phillips.

And even though they say they would be ready Region 8 Fire Fighters say they don't want this type of destruction here.

"I hope it never happens here," said Horton.