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Hundred Mile Hose Reels: Lakes Used To Fight North Carolina Fire

Jun 25, 2008
Anyone well-versed in fire safety and fire fighting knows the importance of hose reels. A good hose reel, while sometimes backbreakingly difficult to carry, can be the difference between success and disaster. But it's rare that hose reels are used as dramatically as they were in the June 2008 battle against wildfires in the woods of North Carolina.

The wildfires began with a stray lightning strike in the woods in the eastern part of the state, early on June 1. Despite how close the wildfire was to the eastern seaboard, the ground in the area had been dry for long days, and the strike started a blaze that quickly grew out of control. Soon sixty-four square miles of forest had been decimated, including space in the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge--one of the world's last homes for the critically endangered Red Wolf and other threatened species. The skies around the state grew black with poison, and a Code Purple warning was issued for major cities as far west as Raleigh--the second worst warning level in the American air quality classification system, and the most dangerous in North Carolina history. The people choked and coughed, driven indoors. Some areas were even evacuated: lifeless streets of shops and houses remained, redolent with feathers of charred cedar smoke.

The only question was this: when would the rain come? Without rain, it seemed impossible for fire fighters to effectively contain the blaze: the ground remained extremely flammable and the fire had plenty of room to spread. But no one believed that rain was coming for weeks, and the fire was burning in the forest, far from any source of water.

The solution? A fire hose reel designed to draw water from two lakes in the region. Firefighters set up the reels and immediately began pumping six million gallons of water per hour through their high-power irrigation hoses, fanning out through the forest, desperately saturating the dry peat moss surrounding the blaze.

Eventually the rain came down, saturated the dry ground, and saved the state from disaster. But until the rain finally came, the situation seemed desperate: like the blade of Damocles, the destruction of the wildlife refuge and the poisoning of the air above the entire state seemed to hang over North Carolina by a single thread.

But fortunately, that thread was a powerful, well-designed fire hose reel--and so everything turned out all right.
About the Author
Not sure which hose reels to choose? www.FireProtectionOnline.co.uk has information on all the different sizes and types
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