Crews from Idaho help battle blaze in Clay Co.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 5:30
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:02 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:14 PM EST
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CLAY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Forest fires continue to spring up across Eastern Kentucky, and local firefighters are weary after almost two weeks of battling blazes.

However, resources are streaming in from across the country.

Crews from Idaho traveled for three days to help fight the fires in our region. They said they are used to the wildfires out west.

“Fire season slowed down back at home. So we are able to help down here,” Hunter Droegmiller, with the Idaho Department of Lands, explained.

Firefighters from Oregon, Texas, Arkansas and Washington have also helped Kentucky crews.

“They have a broad range of firefighting techniques. That are unique to their home base. They bring that skill set to us, assist us in our time of need,” Stephen Gabbard, with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, said.

The crews helped battle a fire in Clay County after it started early Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out along KY-1350 in the Sexton’s Creek community. Crews said it started along the road and raced up the mountain. Five to 15 acres burned in the fire, but no homes were damaged.

“Our goal is to protect private property and local timber. Goals here are similar to there, in that aspect,” Droegmiller said.

The Idaho crew will likely stay for another week.

“It’s different from back home. With the fuel type and fire behavior. We have light flashes and a lot of grass fuels. A lot of heavy timber canyons. Where this is hardwood litter. We don’t have a lot of hardwood litter back home,” Droegmiller added.

Officials said thousands of acres have burned across the region.

The cause of the fires remain under investigation.