Bluffton firefighter shares experience on front line of western wildfires

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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – A Lowcountry firefighter is sharing his latest experience working alongside massive wildfires burning out west.

Tyler Marion, a firefighter from Bluffton Township Fire District, spent two weeks providing care as an EMS worker assigned to firefighting units on the front line.

“Usually, there’s more medical people around. So if something gets a little chaotic, there’s more hands that can help,” said Marion. “Out there, it was just me. So it was scary for that aspect.”

Marion worked at fires in California, Idaho and Utah, one in each respective state.

These wildfires weren’t his first. Marion traveled out west back in 2018 and worked as a firefighter when wildfires engulfed large areas and threatened cities.

What was different this time was COVID-19.

“It was different at all three fires, as far as how they handled it,” said Marion. “At one fire, it was virtual everything.”

Meetings and check-ins were virtual, while huge shared dining spaces were not made available, and personnel would bring food to eat back in their tents.

Although this experience presented new challenges, he says he’s proud that he was able to help those on the front lines.

“This one was more of a service to our people than it felt a service to the communities,” he said.

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