Former Senator Lewis Vaughn Reappointed to Hospital Board
The Greenville County Legislative Delegation elected Representative Dwight Loftis to be their chairman for the next year. State Senator Karl Allen will serve as vice chairman and Representative Garry Smith will continue to serve as delegation secretary.
During the same November 21 meeting, the Delegation voted to return former Senator Lewis Vaughn to the Greenville Hospital System Board of Directors.
A total of five board members were appointed to fill six vacancies. Those appointed in addition to Vaughn were the reappointment of Anna Kate Hipp, and the appointment of Scot Baddley, Michael Ellison, and Michael Smith. Richard Phillipa from Oconee County failed to get reappointed and his vacancy was returned to the Hospital Board for resubmission.
The Delegation Received update on Pinnacle Mountain Fire – Requested more closed-cab dozers.
The Greenville Legislative Delegation entertained an update on the Pinnacle Mountain fire from Gene Kodama, SC State Forester. Monday night’s meeting heard Kodama describe how 6000 acres have been consumed, 500 acres the morning of the meeting. 1.6 million dollars has been spent by a single agency to cover expenses covering personnel, time and resources with an additional 30-40% from other agencies involved in the attempt to control the fire. 234 persons have been directly involved with up to three hundred when considering support staff. One million gallons of water had been dropped with almost 1000 water drops by helicopters including two Black Hawks and two Chinooks coming in from McEntire in Richland County, 15 minutes north of Columbia.
The fires were begun by a youth group whose small camp fire crested a ridge and went out of control. The fire was on Pinnacle Mountain and Table Rock when it crossed the South Saluda and moved onto Rocky Mountain and Buzzard Mountain.
Teams of twenty from as far away as Utah and Oregon are participating in the fire fight. Duke Power, Boy Scouts and the American Red Cross are all providing aid. The National Weather Service is providing information, including humidity levels and alerts concerning ozone and particulate matter for residents. Of concern is the fact that no significant rainfall is expected till as early as May or April. High winds and dry conditions with low humidity levels are making this fire difficult to contain.
The presentation to lawmakers included a plea to the legislators to fully fund the state for 160 closed-cab bulldozers to better protect fire-fighters in the event of large fires. The closed-cabs insure a greater level of safety, protecting the eyes and breathing. This particular fire has not been able to use bulldozers because the areas that need to create burn-overs are too steep to use big equipment and the fire-fighters have been forced to manually dig 5-6 foot deep fire-lines in an effort to contain the fire. At present the state has 60 closed-cab dozers.