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GEAR UP: Deputies aren't messing around as they prep for active fire season

After recent hurricanes created fire fuel, Charlotte County Sherri’s Office shows how they’re gearing up for what could be a hot brush fire season
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Posted at 8:01 PM, Nov 09, 2023

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — A helicopter flew over crowds at Eagle Lake in South Port Square, who all watched in awe as the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office showcased their firefighting capabilities as they gear up for what could be a hot brush fire season. The event drew more than two hundred people, including resident Dale Davis, who expressed confidence in his communities readiness, stating, “We got good people behind us, and that's what counts.”

The highlight of the day was a helicopter demonstration, where a chopper soared in from the distance before dumping 350 gallons of water over the lake. Chief Pilot Shane Engelauf emphasized the significance of the event, especially in the aftermath of recent hurricanes that created a lot of brush fire fuel in the area.

“It's important for us to get the word out that the Sheriff's Office has firefighting capability along with Charlotte County Fire,” Engelauf stated proudly.

Equipped with a Huey helicopter, Engelauf explained their ability to access hard-to-reach places and use fire foam to quickly tackle brush fires. Ralph Jackman, President of the South Port Square Veterans Association, commended the event's unique nature that allowed residents to "touch, smell, and feel the Huey helicopter." With a significant veteran population in the community, Jackman noted the positive impact of such events, stating, "We're here to make the people who live here enjoy where they are and know that they've got protection around them."

The event not only showcased the Sheriff's Office's capabilities but also created lasting memories for the community. “A lot of people got some great memories from what we've been doing. This only gives us more enthusiasm about what we can do for other people and the people that live here,” said Jackman.

As the event ended, the helicopter took off as people watched it fade into the distance, ready for the call during this critical season.