Marine Base Firefighters: Largest Fire in 25 Years


MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- More than 200 firefighters from the Marine Corps Base Quantico Fire Department and regional fire and rescue units responded to a wildfire that burned across training areas on the west side of base for more than 72 hours this week.   The MCB Quantico Fire Department received the first notification of the fire April 8, 2013. Due to dry conditions and a steady wind, the fires that were initially isolated to a single training area, spread across areas and burned more than 3,400 acres -- the largest fire base firefighting officials have seen in 25 years.   The firefighters employed back-burning techniques and bull-dozing of berms to control and contain the fire to Training Area 11. However, the fire crept into other training areas. Training Areas 8, 10, 13 and 14 were charred by the fire. At no time was private property at risk; the interior woodlands aboard the base that burned were not near the base’s perimeter. 

The first responders were members of the MCBQ Fire Department, who are trained to respond to numerous emergency situations, acted swiftly to prevent the fire from escalating.   More than 30 units from more than five regional jurisdictions assisted the MCB Quantico Fire Department in containing the blaze. Helicopters from the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, stationed at Quantico, also helped by providing aerial surveillance in support of ground units fighting the blaze.  

“When there’s an emergency the names on our coats are secondary to our mission,” said Chief Kevin McGee, Prince William County Fire and Rescue. “We are neighbors and we were glad to help.”   The efforts of each of the units and a heavy rain early morning on April 12 helped to extinguish the fire.   “It was a great effort put forth by our department and all of the departments that rendered aid,” said Chief Raymond Loving, MCB Quantico Fire Department. “The crews rotated in eight-hour shifts due to the long hours we were out there.”   Three base responders were transported to Stafford Hospital for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. They were treated and released.   Loving attributed the rainfall received the morning of April 12, 2013, with helping to extinguish the blaze, yet firefighters and rescue personnel worked around-the-clock until the flames were out. The chance of the fire re-emerging is slim; however, he said the affected areas will be under surveillance to ensure the fire is fully extinguished.    “Everyone in the Quantico Fire Department was committed and performed superbly,” said Col. Barry Neulen, Security Battalion’s commanding officer. “We could not have gotten the fires under control as quickly as we did without the tremendous relationship we have our community partners through mutual aid."   The responding units who tackled this fire were:   •           MCB Quantico Fire Dept. (All units)   •           Stafford County Fire and Rescue   •           Goldvein Fire Dept.   •           Brooke Fire Dept.   •           Fauquier County Fire Dept.   •           Catlett Fire Dept.   •           Rockhill Fire Dept.   •           Falmouth Fire Dept.   •           Woodbridge Fire Dept.—Brush Fire 12   •           Warrenton Fire Dept.   •           Coles District 506 Fire Dept.   •           Nokesville Fire Dept.

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