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Firefighter Wears Helmet Cam, Heads into Blaze

10:52 PM, Jun 21, 2011   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Mark Reddish has been fighting fires for the last eight years as part of the state Division of Forestry.

But he became a tour guide for the first time over the last seven days, wearing a small camera on his helmet. Reddish helped give us an inside look at the most dangerous part of fighting a wildfire, which is plowing fire lines.

"We're in front of the path and the ultimate goal is to stop the forward momentum of the fire.  So, we try to get to the head of the fire, the hottest part," said Reddish. 

Drivers like Reddish are inside the fire long before firefighters arrive with water and hoses.

"Everything is just ready to burn," explained Reddish.  "It's just not safe for cameras to be in there."

Over the last week, Reddish helped contain fires off of County Road 210 and State Road 16, as well as several others in St. Johns County.  Most of those fires were contained to less than five acres, but that does not mean the job of Forestry workers is any less important. 

"Those 5-acre, quarter-acre fires are just as dangerous. You know, you can't let your guard down even on those," Reddish said.

Reddish said he hopes sharing the interior of the wildfires with the public through the helmet cam will help people understand how volatile the current situation is. 

According to Greg Dunn, senior forester with DOF, the conditions are just as dry as they were during the wildfire outbreak of 1998. 

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