Helena Fire Department issues smoke warning following brush fire

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer 

HELENA – After midnight on the morning of Monday, June 24, the Helena Fire Department issued a local alert for the excessive smoke due to an ongoing brush fire in the Cahaba Wildlife Management Area.

According to announcements made by the HFD, the department first responded to a small brush fire in the 2400 block of Coalmont Road on Saturday, June 22. The following day, afternoon crews were called to the 4600 block of Highway 13 for a large brush fire.

The HFD reports that responders used drones to locate a large brush fire in the Cahaba Wildlife Management Area, with Alabama Forestry and County 17 Fire Department working to contain the fire.

The following evening on Monday, June 24, the County 17 Fire Department issued a statement saying the fire was contained.

According to the County 17 Fire Department, firefighters worked through dangerous temperatures as flames raged to heights of 20-40 feet. The shifting direction of the fire caused the team to have to reposition their efforts.

“I would like to thank all of the brave firefighters of County 17 for the their Herculean efforts to control the flames at a critical point until (Alabama Forestry) arrived,” County 17 FD’s statement read. “We would like to thank Alabama Forestry, Helena PD and Dispatch for their assistance and Helena Fire’s willingness to help if needed.”

Due to smoke from the brush fire drifting to surrounding areas, the HFD issued a local alert for Helena Monday morning, informing residents to expect smokey conditions.

“Alabama Forestry has the fire contained however there will continue to be a significant amount of smoke from this fire blanketing the majority of the Helena residential areas,” the announcement read. “A light smoke and campfire smell is to be expected but if you experience heavy smoke conditions or see fire please notify 911 immediately.”

At a regularly scheduled city council meeting that evening, Helena Mayor Brian Puckett further informed residents to not be alarmed by potential smokey conditions and to limit non-emergent calls to the fire department.

“There is a fire going on in the (Cahaba) Wildlife Management Area that is bringing smoke into the area,” Puckett said. “If you smell smoke, that’s more than likely the reason. We don’t want to stop anyone from calling 911; we just want to make sure that (the fire department) doesn’t get as many call out as they did last night.”

More information will be released as it becomes available.

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