THEODORE, Ala. (WKRG) — Residents on Deakle Road in South Mobile County fended off the leftovers of last week’s wildfires that scorched 100 acres.
The area, still smoldering and smoking, reignited on Saturday. The reborn blaze sent crews scrambling to keep the inferno away from a gas line just south of the area. The Alabama Forestry Commission said they are hoping to avoid the underground gas line because they are not sure how deep it’s buried. They said heavy equipment will not be used near the gas lines to reduce the chances of it rupturing.
“It’s hard to say you’ll leave though because when stuff starts happening, and it’s your place, you just want to do everything you can to keep it from burning down,” Jimmy Ezell, who lives of Deakle Road, said.
The Alabama Forestry Commission said that even Monday’s slight winds could be enough to carry embers across the fire barrier to fresh fuel. Keeping their yards’ cut back is one of many things residents did to keep fire away from their homes, choking the fire of its fuel.
“In a way, we’re feeling pretty safe now because there really isn’t anything left to burn up close to the house,” house sitter Jody Swaney said. “Today’s probably the clearest day, smoke wise, we’ve had in the last week.”
The AFC said the fire started on Tuesday but was extinguished shortly after. It started again on Friday, leaving a thick column of smoke over South Mobile County. The fire reignited again on Saturday.
“We just pretty much held the – held the line. There wasn’t much sleep Friday night,” Swaney said. “It was just a mess, but by the Grace of God, we’re still standing. We’re still here.”
The AFC said it would be hard to extinguish the fire if it reaches the swamplands near Bellingrath Gardens. The water has dried out of the swamp, providing a great deal of fuel for a fire. Above that, the AFC said the ground would be too soft to use heavy equipment like bulldozers and trucks.
Eight agencies responded to the fire.
“Without them, my place would’ve been gone,” Ezell said.
Swaney said the fire turned what used to be tick woods into a pile of ash.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that motor home over there, and over here I can see buildings that I’ve never been able to see before,” Swaney said. “When you get back here, you kind of think you’re the only people in the world, but it turns out there’s a lot of people out there.”
The AFC continues to monitor the area from the land and the sky.