KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Cocke County Schools are planning to be closed on Tuesday due to the threat of wildfires in the area.
Cocke County Emergency Management Agency posted that Cocke County Schools would be closed on Tuesday, November 21, “out of an abundance of caution based on the wildfires and potential weather” moving into the area overnight.
Prior to school being canceled, students were set to have an early release day on Nov. 21 with Thanksgiving Break going from Nov. 22-24, 2023.
A Fire Weather Warning or Red Flag Warning has been issued for the Smokies that will be in effect until 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Due to the very high fire danger risk, outdoor burning is not recommended as any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. A High Wind Warning has also been issued for the Smokies and Foothills which will continue until Tuesday at 4 p.m. These winds will greatly increase the fire danger risk and could make driving difficult.
Several wildfires have begun in the East Tennessee area due to dry, windy conditions. Crews are currently fighting a fire in Cocke County that began in North Carolina. The “Black Bear Fire” is currently 1,740 acres and 42% contained according to an update posted around 1 p.m.