MADISON, Ill. – Firefighters have a tough job no matter the weather, but when the heat and humidity reach these extreme levels, it can make even the smallest fire feel like an inferno.
Departments from all over southern Illinois sent crews, equipment, and water to the scene of a massive blaze Sunday into Monday at 111 Salvage off Illinois Route 111 in Madison, Illinois. The extra bodies were needed not just because of the size of the fire, but also because of the extreme heat.
The fire broke out late Sunday and burned through the night. Fires like this in weather like this are an especially dangerous combination, according to Jason Wilson, Shift Commander with the Granite City Fire Department.
His department sent nine firefighters to the salvage yard fire over the last 24 hours.
“Even on our small house fires, we try and do shifts. But those large, the larger incidents, you have to rotate the guys around pretty consistently…It doesn’t take long, and you get pretty exhausted,” he said.
Madison County Emergency Management sent in air-conditioned busses to help firefighters cool off. According to Wilson, outside of the big fire, the call volume Monday was close to normal with no noticeable increase related to the hot weather.
He is concerned about what may come next as the extreme heat starts to dry out vegetation and raise concerns for wildfires in the days ahead.