Sevier County Firefighters on high alert for wildfire threat
A Red Flag Warning has been issued from the National Weather Service for dangerous conditions for wildfires.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Red Flag Warning was issued across east Tennessee for strong winds and dangerous conditions for wildfires on Wednesday. Firefighters in Sevier County say they’re on level 4 alert of 5 for the threat of wildfires.
Chief Charlie Cole in Gatlinburg said the biggest problem has been powerlines coming down and sparking fires. “Our biggest concern probably the one thing that causes the most fires for us, wildland fires is the utility emergencies for the fire,” said Cole.
Firefighters are trying to get containment lines around 180 acres that’s burning in the Cherokee National Forest in Cocke County.
Cole says burn permits aren’t being issued and it’s not safe to burn, even in a barrel. “The thing is do not, do not set any type of fires outside. A cigarette butt flipped out of the car on the side of the road is starting fires in the conditions that we have,” said Cole.
Meanwhile, firefighters in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are on a race against time. They worked all day Tuesday to get containment lines around two fires before high winds reach the area on Wednesday.
“The North Carolina side of the park, the wind prediction is still some high winds but not as high as we’re going to experience in Tennessee,” said Dana Soehn with Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
She said the two fires in North Carolina were started by powerlines coming down.
“Both of those fires, again are being fought by a team of on the ground firefighters and air resources, a combination of a lot of tools,” said Soehn.
Chief Cole says home owners should walk around your home and get any dry brush as far away as you can.
“With this it’s a daily maintenance thing that you need to take care of. It could save your house,” said Cole.
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