BLEDSOE COUNTY, Tenn. — In Bledsoe County, fire has charred more than 1,400 acres of land.
“This is as dry as it’s ever been,” said Brad Case, Signal Mountain resident. Case drove through Pikeville Monday. He says the smell of the smoke throughout the Tennessee Valley has taken a toll on everyone. “It won’t go away until it rains,” he said.
In Bledsoe County – there are six active fires. As we went up the mountain, we found charred grass, leaves and trees. Only at times did we see flames, but the smoke was constant.
Pikeville Mayor Philip Cagle wants residents to be aware of the burn ban now in effect in the town and county. “Anything could pretty well ignite a fire [like] cigarettes. It doesn’t take much,” Cagle said. He’s advising residents not to burn leaves. Instead, he has a list of other options. “Rake them up, pile them up, haul them off or whatever – but please don’t burn them,” Cagle advised.
Tennessee forestry officials still don’t know how this one started. “They can work as much as they want to but they can’t get it completely out until we have rain,” Case said. Cagle praises those working to fight the fires. “It’s a tough job trying to fight these fires and dry as it is but they are doing the best they can,” Cagle said. Mayor Cagle says last week the fire did get close to some homes on the mountain. But, so far – they haven’t had to evacuate anyone yet.