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April 5, 2016

TEMA Watching Wildfire Threat in East Tennessee, Providing Response Assistance

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is stepping up to a Level 4 – Elevated status, as of 5 p.m., CST, today (4-5-16) due to a number of wild-land fires in East Tennessee that are threatening lives and property.

A wildfire in Cocke County has already impacted 800 to 1,000 acres of land and is threatening an additional 1,000 to 2,000 acres, with up to 20 homes in its path. The fire is located on Halls Top mountain, southeast of Newport, Tenn., in the Cherokee National Forest. U.S. Forest Service and Tennessee Division of Forestry are responding, with an estimated 100 personnel at the scene utilizing fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter support for fire suppression.

TEMA has deployed District Coordinators from the East Region Office to the Halls Top fire and is sending additional District Coordinators from its Middle Region Office also to assist. There is limited access into the Pleasant Grove community due to heavy equipment and fire personnel in the area. The Tennessee Department of Military, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Department of Transportation are also engaged and ready to assist the response efforts.

Additionally, local officials reported wildfires today in Scott, Morgan and Sevier counties. In Sevier County, on English Mountain, 16 fire crews responded to a wildfire that caused 30 residents to be evacuated from their homes. A second fire in Sevier County resulted yesterday from the helicopter crash that claimed five lives. In Morgan County, two fires impacted about 200 acres and another 100 acres burned in Scott County.

Basic Wildfire Safety

- Obey burn bans.
- Avoid activities that cause open flames or sparks.
- Properly discard cigarettes – do not throw them from vehicles.
- If you smell smoke or see fire, move in a direction opposite the fire immediately.
- If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don’t assume that someone else has already called.
- If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately – make sure and tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check-in with your friends and family.
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications.To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
- If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.
- Monitor TV and Radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders.