Mt. Juliet firefighters battle 9 fires fueled by dry conditions in 24 hours

Burn ban in effect in the city
brush fire golden bear gateway
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 19:21:37-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dry conditions and near triple-digit heat are two big reasons the Mt. Juliet Fire Department is busier than usual.

In the last two weeks, the Mt. Juliet Fire Department has put out 15 fires that drought-like conditions helped fuel.

"Dumpster fires, trash fires, grass fires, crop, brush, the whole bit," said Mt. Juliet Fire Chief Jamie Luffman.

The string of outdoor fires, including the nine that happened in one 24-hour period, are prompting Mt. Juliet firefighters to brush up on drafting. The process involves drawing in water from a water source such as a pool or creek, through a hose, into an engine, and then spraying it out another hose.

"This is something that we don't do very often. We've got muscle memory for hooking a hydrant and doing the job that way, but this is something we do on a rare basis," Luffman said.

Just like the landscape, the firefighters are vulnerable in this heat too. Luffman encourages firefighters to take breaks whenever they can.

"This [weather] just seems to zap your batteries, and at the end of the day, you're beat. And if you were to go out into a brush fire with a flapper or hose and trying to do the job — it's going to accelerate that process," he said.

An indefinite burn ban will only be lifted in Mt. Juliet when Wilson County sees more regular rainfall.