DAY 4: Crews wrapping up brush fire battle on Signal Mountain - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

DAY 4: Crews wrapping up brush fire battle on Signal Mountain

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Photo courtesy of Hamilton Co. EMS. Photo courtesy of Hamilton Co. EMS.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Fire crews continue their fourth day battling a brush fire on Signal Mountain.

Hamilton County EMS spokeswoman Amy Maxwell says fire crews continue to battle 8-10 mph winds.

Maxwell says, "The winds would stop for 15-20 minutes and then strong gusts would blow and feed the fire flare ups."

One injury has been reported. A man from the Tennessee Forestry Division received minor injuries to his shoulder while working to put out the brush fires, after a tree fell on him, according to Maxwell.

Fire officials are reporting they have made significant progress with containing the brush fires with the help of water drops by Tennessee National Guard and all the fire crews consisting of raking, leaf blowing, shoveling, tree cutting and patrolling the fire breaks.

The following crews are helping the Tennessee Forestry Division fight the brush fire: Highway 58 VFD, Soddy Daisy FD, and the Tennessee National Guard. 

The Red Bank Fire Department is covering Walden's Ridge Emergency Services' district for additional emergency calls, while the Tri-Community VFD is covering Red Bank'S district.

Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue and the American Red Cross are on the scene for rehab.

Maxwell says all crews are expected to be out of the woods by dusk.


Tennessee Forestry Division requested mutual aid response for assistance on Roberts Mill Road, at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Brush fire continues to burn in Walker County

Officials reported the fire has jumped breaks from the 5 acres burning yesterday and is burning on the Northeast end and Southwest end of Signal Mountain. 

TN Forestry Division has bulldozers in the woods creating new fire breaks and bringing a helicopter to make water drops on the fires off the bluffs. Agencies that are assisting with the fire are Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, Mowbray VFD, Lone Oak VFD, Sequoyah VFD, STARS, and Bradley County Fire Rescue. Dallas Bay VFD is monitoring the valley area. Signal Mountain FD continues covering all of mountain for any additional emergency calls. 

No injuries have been reported no evacuations neccessary. Roberts Mill Road is open down the mountain.


PREVIOUS STORY: Crews are still battling brush fires on Signal Mountain that were all started by an unattended campfire. Officials are reporting "significant improvements" to the estimated 80 acres of fires along Roberts Mill Road, but windy conditions continue to be a problem.

Firefighters have been working for three days to get the brush fires under control, but officials said it could be some time before the flames are completely out.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Brush fire continues to burn in Walker County

Tennessee Forestry Division has been able to bulldoze new access roads in the woods to allow brush trucks carrying water to get closer to the fire. Brush trucks assisting were from Soddy Daisy FD, Bradley Co. Fire Rescue, Tri-Community VFD and Highway 58 VFD. TN Forestry also provided a helicopter for large water drops over the brush fire's hot spots.

Some crews have barely had time to rest. Many of them are volunteers

"We really don't have a specific shift. When they start getting tired, we have to replace them with new bodies, and they have to eat," said Amy Maxwell, Hamilton Co. Emergency Services spokesperson. "Some people took off work today to help volunteer their time."

Until the fire out, residents will have to deal with detours.

Roberts Mill Road, going up and down the mountain, is closed until further notice. That's forcing drivers like Shawn Whitaker to take the long route home.

"I'm having to go all the way back around the other side, then having to go all the way up through Soddy Daisy," said Whitaker, who works on Signal Mountain. "You're probably looking at about an hour trip right there, when it could be 15 minutes."

But officials said the road is closed for good reason. It's not safe for vehicles to travel right now, according to Maxwell.

"It's not only for their safety, but it's for the safety of fire personnel and apparatus," she said. "They're walking on those roads, coming in and out of the woods on ATVs."

Neighbors who live near the command post are also doing their part by dropping off food and water. Some are even offering their homes to firefighters, to use the restroom or have a cool place to rest.

"It's almost like a sense of thanks, because we're helping protect their property as well, so it kind of works hand in hand," Maxwell said.

Crews left the fire scene at dusk, and will return Tuesday morning.

Due to dry and windy conditions, officials are asking people not to burn anything right now. That includes burning trash or using fire pits.


A brush fire that began due to an unattended campfire enters its third day. First responders and TN Forestry Division are attempting to prevent the brush fire from spreading to neighboring subdivisions. 

"I think that's the height of stupidity and not good and common sense. People just not using their heads and you can see what happens," Jim O'Connell, a neighbor said.

Officials say the hot ambers and dead trees are falling down the side of the mountain could be a serious concern to a subdivision on Rocky Ledge Drive below the brush fires.

"Seeing this up behind us has been pretty frightening," O'Connell said.

At 10:00 a.m. Monday, new fires jumped the fire breaks due to high winds and dry terrain. Fire officials have established a unified command for Mountain Operations and Valley Operations for this large brush fire on Signal Mountain.

Fire officials staged additional agencies and equipment at the Falling Water Baptist Church located on Roberts Mill Road. Several agencies have been in the woods throughout the day. 

A helicopter from TN Forestry is assisting with the brush fire making water air drops.

Fire officials have been in contact with homeowners on Rocky Ledge Drive to continue to watch the woods in their backyards and keep them the fire officials informed.

At 5:00 p.m., Hamilton County EMS spokeswoman Amy Maxwell says fire officials are making tremendous improvements to the brush fire.

"Fire officials report wind has continued to play a large factor in fighting these brush fires," Maxwell says. "Their goal today is to have the new 5 acres burning under control and extricate fire crews out of the woods at dusk."

Roberts Mill Road going up the mountain is now closed until further noticed.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY:  Tennessee Forestry Division reported to dispatch that heavy winds have caused the brush fired to jump their firebreaks and has started to spread on Signal Mountain. 

TN Forestry requested mutual aid response for additional manpower and ATV's to Roberts Mill Road. Investigators have been on the brush fire all night and confirmed the cause of the fire is from an unattended campfire. Someone had been camping on the mountain and left the area without extinguishing the campfire. 

Fire officials continue to report no injuries and no structure endangerment. All brush fires are contained to the woods.

TN Forestry Division personnel and firefighters continue to dig trenches (fire breaks) and tie those with the fire breaks they made yesterday. 20 acres continue to burn but are under control. Unfortunately, there are 10 additional acres that are burning which they are currently trying to get under control. Their goal for today is to have these brush fire under control by dusk.

Robert's Mill Road is closed due to heavy fire apparatus and personnel occupying this road. No time frame giving as to when the road will be reopened.


PREVIOUS STORY:  A brush fire on Signal Mountain is now contained after it grew to 20 acres on Saturday. 

Strong winds made it tough for firefighters to battle the brush fire on Roberts Mill Road on Signal Mountain.

More than 50 fire personnel, 13 emergency services agencies, and the TN Forestry Division worked to contain the fire. The forestry division used a helicopter to dump water on the areas that firefighters could not reach.

Roberts Mill Road will remain closed until further notice.


Several firefighter agencies have been battling a 5.5 acre brush fire at 550 Roberts Mill Road on top of Signal Mountain for most of the day Saturday. These are the agencies and fire personnel helping to get this fire under control.

There are companies at the top of the mountain (Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, Red Bank Fire Department and Lone Oak VFD ) and Dallas Bay VFD, Sequoyah VFD and Mowbray VFD are staged at the bottom of the mountain.

Tennessee Forestry Division has personnel on the scene and using a helicopter to drop water from above to hit the fires that are not accessible for firefighters to reach with fire apparatus or hose lines.

Signal Mountain FD is covering all emergency calls on Signal Mountain. Sale Creek VFD is covering all emergency calls in Dallas Bay Area. East Ridge FD is covering all emergency calls in Red Bank. Soddy Daisy FD is on standby at their station. Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. Rescue is on the scene for rehab for all fire personnel.

Hamilton County STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Services) is responding to the top of the mountain with ATV's to transport fire personnel down to the fire scene.

No structural endangerment at this time.

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