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April 18, 2016

TEMA Update :: Wildfire Threat Continues in East Tennessee

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is stepping up to a Level 4 – Elevated status, as of 5 p.m., CST, today (4-18-16) due to a number of wildfires burning in East Tennessee that are threatening lives and property.

Cocke County
On April 17, 2016, Cocke County EMA reported a large wild land fire in Cocke County on Weavers Bend. Approximately 400 acres have burned and there are 10 to15 homes that could potentially be impacted, but they are not currently in danger and have not been evacuated. Approximately 100 personnel are on scene. This is a different fire than the Halls Top Fire in Cocke County that started around on April 4, 2016 and burned over 2,000 acres.

Sevier County
Three separate fires are burning in Sevier County. A fire on Bluff Mountain began as a structure fire and has burned approximately 100 acres with six homes impacted and 30 homes were evacuated. The fire is reported as 100% contained. A second fire on Shell Mountain of around 15 acres is reported 100 percent contained. A third fire is currently underway near Gatlinburg.

Carter County
Two fires are reported in Carter County reports two wildfires burning on Old Railroad Grade Road (up to 40 acres burned) and the Elk Mills Fire, which is toward Roane Mountain.

A combination of State Forestry, U.S. Forestry and local fire resources are managing and responding to these wildfires. TEMA has deployed District Coordinators from its East Tennessee office to the fires and is also sending staff from the Middle and West offices for supportive efforts as the fire response goes to 24-hour operational periods. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and
Tennessee Department of Transportation are also monitoring and supporting the wildfire response.

Rain isn’t expected in East Tennessee until later this week, with rainfall amounts only in the one-half-inch range.

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.