News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 16, 2007
MARTINEZ, Ga --- It's cutting right through Columbia County. "It smells like burning rubber," says landscaper Joey Luncefurd. A smoky skyline with a strong odor; souvenirs of wildfires burning in southern Georgia.
Retired firefighter Charlie Bowman has never seen anything like it.
"Well I was on the Martinez Fire Department for 25 years and the worst we ever had was two days and a night," Bowman says.
But this one is much worse.
"Winds out of the southeast, it's coming our way bringing the smoke up here," says director of emergency services Pam Tucker. She's been following wind patterns as smoke has drifted hundreds of miles to parts of Georgia, South Carolina and even North Carolina.
"This just really brings it home how bad these fires are that this smoke has traveled this far," says Tucker.
It's why the Martinez-Columbia County fire department is down there helping out.
"It's the biggest fire we've ever had in Georgia - wild land fire," says assistant chief Jim Baldwin. Weeks ago crews collected supplies for Waycross filling this trailer with things like water and Gatorade.
For people like Joey Luncefurd who work outside the smoky stench is a cinch compared to how bad it must be for citizens further south.
"The fire won't go out and it's gone down to Florida and Florida's hopeless and we can't put it out," he says.