Durham firefighters go west to help fight NC wildfires

December 13, 2016 by  

Fire departments in western North Carolina are receiving help from all across the Triangle with their battle to put out wildfires, including a group of firefighters from Durham.

Nicholas Holman and Captain Paul Tyler were among eight local firefighters who volunteered. Holman summarized:

“(It was) a unique opportunity, you get to fight fire in the mountains.”

The Party Rock Fire, the blaze the Durham firefighters were sent to help put out, is in Chimney Rock State Park and covers 71,000 acres. The eight men worked 12-hour shifts for about five days before they returned to Durham. They were among hundreds of firefighters from as far away as Alaska, Oregon and Arizona.

Many fire departments raise funds to supply equipment above and beyond that their municipality can afford. Among ways they do this is by the sale of custom calendars.

The Durham group was assigned to protect homes from the encroaching blaze, which was made difficult by the steep terrain. Tyler explained:

“It was so steep, we had to run a rope up as a safety line to ascend the mountain, pulling our hose lines up and we were working hot spots on the side of this mountain.”

Now 100% contained, Captain Tyler credits state leaders with quickly requesting and deploying a large assemble to fight the Party Rock Fire.