Riding with crews into hard-to-reach fires - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Riding with crews into hard-to-reach fires

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - While all crews are working overtime to stop even the smallest fires, a lot of them have broken out in places fire engines and tankers can't easily reach.

Like one that flared up today in a field off Roden Road just a couple miles south of Gladewater.

Today KLTV rode along with a volunteer fire fighter in a specially made machine to get into the heart of the fire.

It's a Kawasaki mule with a skid tank and hose reel on the back... something that definitely comes in handy during times like these.

"I think you noticed that on our ride today. That we can cross fences and get across creeks and get into areas that we otherwise would just take hand tools and try to fight the fire," Mark Coleman, who created the machine, said.

Mark decided to make it himself to use when volunteering for multiple fire departments in East Texas.

"This is a little unique because we can get into the areas with water, we have 125 gallons of water in the tank and it'll last about 8-10 minutes continuously but if you're just spraying to put out spot fires you can go 20-30 minutes before having to refill," Mark said.

He said it's often used to aid ground crews, like this one, when they're drawing a fire line.

"They'll actually go out into the woods with hand tools and they'll actually fight the fire and try to make a fire line to keep the fire from crossing and they get into the areas that are inaccessible," he said.

Then Mark provides the water. When it's spent, he loads the mule back onto his truck and reloads.

"For instance now we've just come out of this and I'm trying to see where we can get quickest back out to the road. Where we're at now is inaccessible by a tanker so we're having to go back out and try to find some water from a tanker," Mark said.

Getting fires like these under control quickly so they don't grow into a serious threat.

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