Tennessee

UPDATE: Fires force voluntary evacuation of Gatlinburg neighborhood

Chimney Tops blaze coating Smokies with ashes

As wildfires continue to burn, firefighters from across the country continue to fly to East Tennessee to help knock them down. 

A new group of 100 firefighters arrived Thanksgiving day to head to a wildfire burning near the Tennessee and North Carolina state line. 

That group of men and women will join 1,100 firefighters from other states already working in the East Tennessee, Southeast region. 

On Friday, the state Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry reported there were seven new known fires involving 113 acres over the past 24 hours.

Because of the fires, our sister affiliate WBIR is reporting that emergency officials are asking residents in a Gatlinburg neighborhood to voluntarily evacuate.

That included three new fires involving some eight acres, two of which were suspected arson.

The major fires now burning in Tennessee:

*East Miller Cove (Blount) 1,499 acres, 80% contained

*Little Brushy (Morgan) 260 acres, 100% contained

*Stoney Fork (Campbell) 884 acres, 100% contained

*Beech Grove Rd (Anderson) 327 acres, 100% contained

*Bald Knob Rd. (Morgan) 1,173 acres, 100% contained

*Flippers Bend (Hamilton) 981 acres, 100% contained

*Poe Rd. (Hamilton) 712 acres, 100% contained

*Mowbray (Hamilton) 899 acres, 98% contained

More firefighters coming

In the next few days, 300 more firefighters will arrive. 

According to Celeste Prescott, based out of the mobilization unit at McGhee Tyson Airport, there are firefighters in Tennessee from Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arizona, the Pacific Northwest and plenty of other states.

"There's some people who are already coming back out here for their second time," Prescott said.

She said having such a late fire season is unusual for the region.

"This is unprecedented, the amount of fires and the amount of resources that are required. They haven't really seen before. Especially this time of year," Prescott said.

For many firefighters, it's their first time in Tennessee so they had to be briefed on the different terrain. 

"It's a different kind of beast. Some really steep terrain they are dealing with as well which can be very dangerous," Prescott said. 

One firefighter from Idaho, Greg Haxby, said he had to learn quickly how to adapt to Tennessee's rugged landscape.

 


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