Exhausted firefighters get first day off after brush fires begin - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Exhausted firefighters get first day off after brush fires begin

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Firefighters are taking a well-deserved break Wednesday after working four straight days on Signal Mountain. Channel 3 spoke with one Red Bank Firefighter who is grateful for a day off. 

Firefighters battled the fire for four days. When they heard the Tennessee Forestry Division was taking over, they were relieved.

READ MORE | DAY 4: Crews wrapping up brush fire battle on Signal Mountain

It was Josh Hamill's days off but that didn't stop him from, gearing up and climbing to the top of Signal Mountain. “Extremely dry. The terrain was really hard long hike in there. Needed the four-wheelers to get back to the fire,” said Firefighter Josh Hamill.

He's been a fire fighter for six years, and can't remember a fire like this one. “We've had brush fires but nothing to this extent and nothing this hard to contain.”

Josh said he was among 50 firefighters each day. It was hard to hear commands, and the black smoke made it hard to see. “Cut a lot of trees down, clearing paths to make breaks. Every time we would make one break, it would jump to the next break. A lot of work, exhausting mentally and physically.” The steep rocky terrain was his biggest struggle. “It is straight up and down. It is hard climbing, everything getting up with hand tools it makes everything difficult.”

In just a quick moment Josh said the flames can get out of hand, and threaten homes or lives. “The flames would come up from the bottom; we were on top of the bluff. The fire would come up on the bluff on us. If we would cut something it would fall on the guys below us.”

READ MORE | Brush fires and wildfires: How you can prevent them 

He's thankful for the back up from Tennessee Forestry Division and a much needed day off. But is ready to head back out as soon as he is needed. “Glad to be getting out of the woods. Worn out, did a lot of hiking.”

Local firefighters will return to the mountain if the brush fire gets close to local neighborhoods.

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