Firefighters say Polk brush fire is worst they’ve seen

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Devastating wildfires continue to sweep through Polk County. Wildfires have burned more than 4,000 acres. The fire is expected to continue to spread.

Raging flames have devastated areas near the River Ranch Hunt Club and just south of Indian Lake Estates.

Countless firefighters have worked long grueling shifts and their work won’t be over any time soon. Firefighters are committed to the job and their lives are full of sacrifice. This week has been no exception and those who have worked this fire say it’s the worst they’ve seen in their career.

4,000 acres devastated and destroyed.

“It’s heartbreaking. You know, these people work very hard for what they have and unfortunately it takes something like this to lose it and insurance is hard to get out here, because you’re so far from everything.

A lot of people are going to have to start over,” said Lance Meachum.

Captain Lance Meachum has fought fires for 14 years. He’s seen a lot in his time, but he calls this emergency call, this fire, different.

“It’s pretty bad. There’s a lot of devastation. There’s a lot of people who have lost a lot and we’re doing everything we can to keep it in check as best we can,” said Meachum.

Meachum and his team are doing the best they can while running on empty.

“A little tired. Fatigued. Ready to go home and get some sleep.”

But, as the fire continues to burn, fire crews will continue to sacrifice.

“We’re going to be out here for days if not longer. I would say probably another week. I know Division of Forestry are keeping crews out here until the fire is extinguished and we’re going to be doing the same.”

Though Meachum is tired and away from his family, this is a fight he’s proud to do.

“Adrenaline keeps you going and like I said you’re just out here for the citizens and trying to keep their properties and their animals and hope everybody gets out safe.”


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