by Hunter Dawkins
For the second consecutive day, a brush wildfire began to consume most of the land north of the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, but west of Canal Road in the county south of the interstate. Unlike yesterday, the winds shifted the blaze northwest headed towards interstate 10 and Legacy Hotel off Exit 31 in western Harrison County. The flames were contained away from the interstate and no injuries were reported.
“Multiple agencies have been working together to control this brush fire,” said Mississippi State Highway Patrol Officer Cal Robertson. “We are monitoring the visibility of the interstate here, so if this got close enough and caused a significant hazard to motorists, we would close the interstate and diverted to Highway 605.” Fortunately, the fire was contained and no need to detour traffic from the interstate.
The blaze put structures in danger and prompted evacuation at the Flying-J gas station and Legacy Inn, which is now closed south of I-10 at Faith Baptist Church. Canal Road will be closed until notice, but 28th Street is open.
Several fire units and police departments were on scene working to keep citizens safe and contain the blaze from going further north.
“We just have put a lot of manpower and fire trucks to take precautions along with mutual aid from several departments,” said Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan. “Unfortunately, we lost one RV that was burned, but we were able to save four houses that were in the same area and we protected the Flying-J along with the hotel.”
Furthermore, Chief Sullivan mentioned the fire units were able to save the local businesses in this area of flames. Once the fire became contained, the units began to backburn the flames in areas that had burned to get rid of the fuel.
A problem that remained for these fire units is the fuel load; which has been great along with dry land in drought conditions. Biloxi, Long Beach, and Gulfport Fire Departments plus Harrison County Fire Rescue, Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, American Medical Response (AMR) and Mississippi Forestry Commission sent units to serve. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department provided the helicopter to track the fire.
For now, the flames and smoke have been contained. The Gazebo Gazette will provide up-to-date coverage on this incident.
(Photos by Brian Lamar & Hunter Dawkins)