Local crews band together to help fight blaze in western N.C.

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – While the fight against flames continues in the western part of the state, multiple crews from the east have sent their firefighters to help out.

“What you see here is what we call tent city,” said Dustin Burkett, Lenoir County fire marshal, describing . “(There are) hundreds of people in a very small location getting to know each other, telling war stories. You know it’s great times.”

Crews from all over the state are in western Carolina to make sure conditions get better, not worse.

“The initial mission was structural protection,” Burkett said.

He was there earlier in the week, and has plans to return.

One of North Lenoir Fire Rescue’s volunteer firefighters, Garrett Jones, spoke to 9OYS over the phone regarding conditions in the west.

“To this day we haven’t lost any structures,” Jones said. “Everybody’s working really hard. Assignments have been going as planned. There’s a light haze in the area; there’s no real trouble breathing. Fire conditions are a little worse in the woods, but with the proper safety gear we can handle it.”

Crews from Beaufort County are there as well, and Beaufort County’s fire marshal, Curtis Avery, is on standby to go.

“We’ve called for their help numerous times, so this is just a little bit of payback to help them from the times they’ve helped up,” said Avery.

When North Carolina’s fire marshal told local crews the state needed help, several eastern North Carolina departments stepped up.

“We actually had to turn a few away,” said Avery.

While the flames have the potential to ruin homes and businesses, North Carolina firefighters are coming together to make sure no harm is done.

“You know you’re making new friends,” said Burkett. “You know, friendships that you’ll probably never forget.”

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