Fire crews fighting 2 wildfires in Cherokee National Forest

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The USDA Forest Service reported late Tuesday that its fire crews in the Cherokee National Forest were fighting two “large, Type 4” wildfires in its northern and southern zones: a 50-acre fire near Del Rio, Tenn. and a 35-acre fire near Tellico Plains, Tenn.

The Cherokee National Forest, located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

USDA Forest Service released the following information about the fires late Tuesday night:

The Meadow Creek Fire, Incident 142, in the north zone of the forest is approximately 50 acres, and is 4.5 miles NNE of Del Rio, Tenn. One Type-6 engine from the National Forests in Alabama, a dozer, a Type-1 and a Type-3 helicopter have been assigned to this fire. Additionally, the Cherokee Hotshots Suppression Module and the Tennessee Division of Forestry are assisting. Fire crews were able to cool the ridgeline and slow down the fire. Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown. Snags may be a hazard.

The Long Branch Fire, Incident 143, in the south zone of the forest is approximately 35 acres, and is 10 miles SE of Tellico Plains, Tenn. Along with a Type 2 initial attack crew, four Type 6 engines from the National Forests in North Carolina, a dozer, a Type 1 and a Type 3 helicopter have been assigned to this fire. Additionally, the Augusta Hotshots Suppression Module is en route to assist. The fire is human-caused. Hazards include snags and trails in the area that may be threatened.

Both fires are burning in timber in the Cherokee National Forest, but no structures were currently threatened, and there is no containment. Smoke may be visible. Wildfires can produce high quantities of smoke. During wildfire activity, firefighters can do little to reduce smoke impacts.

The USDA Forest Service website reported the fire danger for Tuesday as “High” on the web page for the Cherokee National Forest.

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