By Michael Stafford
Since 1984, the small Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department has seen extremely dry conditions like this year, only a handful of times.
But there's something different this go-round. Their equipment is deteriorating at a time when they're also in dire financial straits.
"Our equipment is old, and this year has been extremely bad. The number of calls is up 180 percent over last year, and we need help," says Fire Chief Leland Hart.
Some of their equipment dates back to the 70's. Chief Hart says tires are all but worn down, and some trucks aren't capable of these off road grass fires they've been fighting lately.
Their fuel costs, utilities, and insurance also are up drastically.
He says it may soon put them in the red.
"We could actually be about 16 to 20 thousand dollars in debt this time next year," adds Hart.
Midland County gives Greenwood about 15 thousand dollars a year, and the Forest Service gives them grant money, But firefighters believe that could all dry up if these dry conditions persist, and the calls for help keep coming.
"If anyone is connected to someone who owns equipment, they want to donate or give some money to help, please call us," says firefighter Kristi Griffin.
These volunteers, who like donating their time, have a motto, "Neighbors Helping Neighbors," and now they're asking those neighbors to help them through this rough period.