Wildfires along the plateau and in the Great Smoky Mountains have intensified this afternoon and evening. Overnight, an inversion layer will keep smoke near the surface. Poor dispersion of wildfire smoke is likely to impact many communities in East Tennessee.
In Bledsoe County, crews are fighting a fire on Old Mountain Road and along Bench Bluff. The fire has already burned 1,100 acres and is currently under control Officials are asking residents and sight seers to avoid the area.
2016 Fall Wildfire Season Situation Update – Morning
November 13, 2016; 1200 CST
NUMBER OF FIRES: 74 | ACRES BURNED: 13,224
Calendar year to date
TOTAL NUMBER OF FIRES: 1,211 | TOTAL ACRES BURNED: 34,633
**Fires being fought within the past 24 hour period
• The division responded to 18 new fires for 317 acres over the past 24 hour period.
o West Tennessee District – 1 fire for 1 acre
o Highland Rim District – 3 fires for 55 acres
o Cumberland District – 7 fires for 93 acres
o East Tennessee District – 7 fires for 168 acres
o Flippers Bend (Hamilton) 1000 acres, 90% contained
o Poe Rd. (Hamilton) 300 acres, 15% contained
o Mowbray (Hamilton) 625 acres, 50% contained
o Smith Mt (Sequatchie) 960 acres, 100% contained
o Bench Bluff (Bledsoe) 1,400 acres, 100% contained
o Cliff Tops (Marion) 80 acres, 100% contained
o Neddy Mt (Cocke) 324 acres, 30% containment; 2 homes evacuated, several more threatened if lines do not hold, no structures lost; helicopter and air tanker drops are working to reinforce containment lines.
o Air quality not likely to improve over the next couple of days in the southeastern portion of Tennessee as winds are not strong enough to clear the smoke out.
o Next best chance of rain is Thursday through Friday for most of the state. Relative humidities expected to rise with the approach of that precipitation.
o Over the next few days, expect highs temperatures in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the upper 30s.
* Bledsoe, Polk and Sequatchie counties were added to the list of counties under a Commissioner of Agriculture burn ban. This brings the total to 12 Tennessee counties: Bledsoe, Claiborne, Cumberland, Hamilton, Jefferson, Loudon, Marion, Monroe, Polk, Robertson, Sequatchie and Sevier. A violation of a burn ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.
* Counties not listed under the ban require a safe debris burning permit. For now, those permits are not expected to be issued until substantial precipitation is received. A violation of burning without a permit is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor which carries a fine of $50 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
* Current county burn bans, additional fire safety tips and wildfire information can be found on the TDA Division of Forestry’s wildfire prevention website at www.burnsafetn.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA AMOS/FACEBOOK