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Remote location of blaze hampered firefighting

April 07, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
  • An air tanker loaded with 800 gallons of water leaves Hagerstown Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon to battle the mountain fire located off Blairs Valley Road in Pennsylvania.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Firefighters were hard-pressed getting equipment to a remote blaze Wednesday on Claylick Mountain near Whitetail Resort.

The fire started Wednesday morning and was reported to be contained at about 6 p.m. Firefighters were on the scene as of Wednesday night.

Officials estimated the fire burned about 45 acres of wooded area.

Warner Quick, a Whitetail employee, said he and several co-workers drove all-terrain vehicles on logging trails to shuttle firefighters and equipment to the fire.

"It was the only feasible way to get to it," Quick said. "The guys kept (the fire) down as much as they could. They did a helluva job to keep it contained."

Quick said each of the three ATVs that Whitetail employees used made 15 to 18 trips throughout the course of the day.

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"Six (firefighters) went up on each trip," he said.

A total of 110 firefighters from 16 departments responded to the scene. Among the firefighters was Jamie Daily of the Middletown (Md.) Volunteer Fire Co.

Daily and other local firefighters were taken off the mountain shortly after 6:30 p.m. so a special task force could fight the fire Wednesday night and early this morning.

"A couple of times, it was really smoking," Daily said. "You'd look down the mountain and see flames coming our way."

Firefighters experienced difficulty communicating and moving across the rocky terrain, Daily said. Visibility ranged anywhere from 5 feet to 200 yards because of the smoke.

Daily said two planes that made numerous runs to drop water on the flames were a huge asset.

The planes dropped 800 gallons of water on each pass.

"The planes definitely helped out," he said. "It cooled things down."

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