Firefighters awarded state grant: Columbiana department given money to help fight wild fires

The Columbiana Volunteer Fire Department received $3,580 from the Alabama Forestry Commission this month to prepare for a season of wild and brush fires.

&8220;We can now fight woods fires without having to wear the heavy bulky structural firefighting gear,&8221; Fire Chief Johnny Howard said. &8220;When you fight a woods fire, it&8217;s [structural gear] not appropriate, but it was all we had until the commission provided the new equipment.&8221;

The Alabama Forestry Commission provided the grant through the Hurricane Ivan Recovery Project.

&8220;To assist with disaster recovery,&8221;

said Brad Lang, county forestry manager. &8220;They can purchase anything from chainsaws or brush trucks to water pumps, hoses and rakes.&8221;

Shelby County is the 12 hottest county in the state and Howard said that can be dangerous when people aren&8217;t careful.

&8220;There&8217;s a moderate amount of wildfires in our area,&8221; Howard said. &8220;Most of those occur in the summer after the state takes off the controlled burn restrictions. People set a pile of stuff on fire and go inside to get something to drink or lunch; when they come back out it&8217;s taking off over the hill.&8221;

Summerhills is the only other Shelby County station to receive similar grant. Most of the other stations receiving the grant are located in the southwest portion of the state.