Crews continue battling wildfires totaling 1,300 acres in Cherokee National Forest

Crews are actively battling three wildfires in Cherokee National Forest Saturday
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 9:40 PM EDT
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COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tennessee officials said crews are working to contain wildfires throughout Cherokee National Forest Tuesday night.

According to the Cherokee National Forest, two of the fires are burning in Cocke County and one in Monroe County. Over 100 firefighters and support personnel are currently assigned to the fires.

Cherokee National Forest firefighters are also responding to a new wildfire start in the south zone of the forest off Joe Brown Highway. The Coker fire is approximately 17 acres and is 20 percent contained.

Cherokee National Forest said in a release, the Mill Creek fire in Cocke County along I-40 westbound at mile marker 446 is around 640 acres and 50 percent contained.

“Safety is a top priority when fighting fire,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Trent Girard. “I would like to thank all the resources from the Tennessee Division of Forestry, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, fire crews from other states and numerous other local fire departments for the support.”

Officials said dead-standing timber and smoke are still a concern to the safety of the public and firefighters.

The Long Branch Fire is approximately 700 acres. The fire is ten miles southeast of Tellico Plains. Fire crews said the fire is 90 percent contained. Officials said dead-standing timber and smoke are the main concerns to public and firefighter safety, especially along the Cherohala Skyway. Visitors are advised to avoid any trails near the fire. This fire was human caused, according to the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Fire crews are using fire choppers to help extinguish these fires, as seen below. This chopper is getting water from the French Broad river in Cocke County.

Video courtesy of Del Rio in Cocke County.

Hazards include snags and trails in the area that may be threatened.

Cherokee National Forest officials are asking the public to not use unauthorized unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, in a fire area.

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