Brentwood Firefighters Return From East Tennessee Wildfires

Posted at 3:12 PM, Nov 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 19:26:45-05

Two crews from the Brentwood Fire Department drove out to East Tennessee to assist in fighting the wildfires that have ravaged parts of the state.

"House fires, structure fires, that's going to be our bread and butter here," firefighter Jeremy Keopf said while reflecting on battling the wildfires. "It's not normal on this side of the country, really." 

Unlike many other fire departments in Middle Tennessee, Brentwood firefighters receive special training that allows them to be prepared and able to fight everything from brush fires to raging wildfires. 

"I'd say the wind and the lack of rain was definitely contributing," Ryan Prather, and engineer with the Brentwood Fire Department, said of the wildfires. 

The two groups from Brentwood were sent out over a nine day period to lead a strike team in the town of Kimball, just west of Chattanooga, side by side with firefighters from all over the country, even as far away as Alaska. 

"We're there to accomplish the same mission," Prather explained. "It doesn't matter where we're from. We're there to protect property and save lives." 

Crews used both water and tools to extinguish parts of the fire, but for the most part, the teams from Brentwood were working on preventing fires from rekindling and spreading. 

"We were mainly working in areas that had already burned," Keopf said. "All it would take is one little leaf that has an ember on it to go across and catch the rest." 

While there was still work to be done by the time Brentwood left East Tennessee leading up to Thanksgiving, hundreds if not thousands of firefighters continued to fight the fires on the ground, and the effort of each person is slowly making a big difference. 

"Good was done for sure," Keopf said. 

Brentwood firefighters plan to incorporate new elements into their training based on what they experienced and learned while fighting the wildfires in East Tennessee.