Forestry Commission, DCFR receives grant money for supplies

Published 9:21 am Monday, May 2, 2022

When Hurricane Michael came through, it didn’t just decimate buildings and infrastructure. In an official email from Frank Sorrells, Chief of Forest Protection with the Georgia Forestry Commission, the issue of hundreds of downed trees and limbs, as well as a high quantity of other plant matter, all being added to the affected area’s natural fuel loads was brought up. Not only had this increased fuel for future wildfires, according to the email, some of these fallen trees may create barriers that obstruct or complicate usual fire control operations.

As a result, the Georgia Forestry Commission applied for a supplementary Volunteer Fire State Fire Assistance Grant, which would go to supporting both local and county fire departments in areas impacted by Michael. Some of this funding was used for purchasing new equipment, such as new hoses and protective coveralls.

This gear was only recently distributed this month. Members of the Decatur County branch of the Forestry Commission met on Friday, showing some of the gear, which they gave to Decatur County Fire and Rescue.

“We’ve got a really good working relationship with the county fire department,” Chief Ranger Bryan Cottles told the Post-Searchlight. “They’re a really good asset for us, and likewise for them. We have the heavy equipment, and they make it to most brushfires long before we get there. They’ve got the water resources, a lot of them they can contain before we even get there, unless it’s really far out in the woods, so anything we can do to help them out with hose and gear, we’re more than grateful to do that.”