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WILDFIRE WATCH

UPDATE: Wildfire forces some Signal Mountain residents to evacuate

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SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE:  Sixty-four people evacuated their homes in the Boston Branch subdivision Wednesday night and they are still being asked to stay away. 

Overnight, the Tri-State Mutual Aid agencies stayed at the Boston Branch subdivision throughout the night monitoring the fires. 

Walden's Ridge Emergency Services report fire crews conducted a tanker shuttle operation by pulling water out of Boston Branch Lake and spraying some 180,000 gallons of water around the homes that are endangered. 

READ MORE | Fire evacuation checklist

Currently, 64 residents on Little Bend Road in the Boston Branch subdivision have voluntarily evacuated their homes. They have been told to pack enough stuff for two days, and are getting daily updates from emergency personnel on the conditions of the fire and their homes.

"So last night, about seven o'clock we got the word to evacuate, within two or three hours we got out," said Drew Eldridge.

Eldridge never expected his house would be in danger of a wildfire living in the Boston Branch subdivision on Signal Mountain.

"I didn't even know if I had wildfire insurance," he said.

His family spent last night with friends, but Drew is back Thursday raking up leaves and mulch away from his home.

"I'm not worried about the fire as much as I am embers from the fire coming and landing on the pine straw," he said.

Even if he said his efforts are just for his own peace of mind.

"Ultimately if that fire, it's burned 700 acres, if it wants to come through here it's going to come through here," said Eldridge.

Less than a mile from the Eldridge house, Karen Smith and her husband live just outside the evacuation zone but are packing up just in case.

"All of that is in the car and our friends have said bring them to our house and we'll see," Smith said.

Outside they've piled up leaves to make their own fire break and will wait for more information.

The wait and uncertainty that hurts them the most.   

"And it got real sad last night, it got real sad," Smith said.

While residents wait to see if, or when, they can return home, they have been seeing an outpour of community support.

Donations for the families and the firefighters and emergency crews are being collected at Walden Ridge Fire Station 2.

READ MORE | Roberts Mill Road Facebook group

The donations are being share with those on Mowbry Mountain as well.

Tennessee Forestry crews leave the fires at night, due to safety concerns over the terrain and heavy smoke. Fire crews have been relying on the lower temperatures at night along with the increased humidity.

Tennessee Forestry officials say there are 53 wildfires burning in the Volunteer State, most which are in upper East Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau area.


PREVIOUS STORY: Residents in one Signal Mountain community were evacuated from their homes Wednesday night, due to the Flipper Bend brush fire.

Hamilton County EMS confirmed the evacuation of all residents on Little Bend Road.

Residents are being asked to leave their homes and take enough supplies to last for "a couple of days."

The following information was posted to the Roberts Mill Road community Facebook page:

1. EVERYONE on LITTLE BEND Road is under a MANDATORY EVAC order by the County:

A. Take provisions for a couple days.

B. Key Info that you Need to have.

C. YOU need to LEAVE the AREA ASAP

2. EVERYONE ELSE:

A. Go HOME and remain in contact! Remain indoors and off our road network. Make sure the kids and pets are accounted for.

B. Do some precautionary prep to leave.

C. Stay out of the WOODS and don't go roaming with your ATV.....emergencies vehicles will be all over the place.

3. The Sheriff's Department will be checking everyone at the gate. If you are not on the resident's list and your ID does not show you belong in here you will not be allowed access to the branch.

4. STAY AWAY from the BOAT RAMP...the dry hydrant will be in service. Traffic flow on Little Bend will be counter clock wise or IN bound on the first turn coming in and OUT bound on the second.

5. Those leaving now.....try to EVAC to family or friends. If you go to a Motel make sure we know where so you might be able to get repaid by the RED Cross. A shelter maybe set up for those with no other options but it will be SPARTAN.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: With the help of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and their aerial digital software, the Tennessee Forestry Division has been able to determine a more accurate number of acres burning in the Flipper Bend fire.

The TN Forestry Division says that the Flipper Bend Fire has:

  • Burned 780 acres so far  
  • The water drops and fire retardant drops helped significantly. The fire held within the fire breaks overnight
  • Higher humidity levels overnight helped with the fires.
  • There's currently no  danger to buildings

The Mowbray Mountain Fire:

  • 230+ acres are burning
  • One-half of the area is contained to the firebreaks

The challenges to firefighters are to hold the fire break lines, working keep the fire breaks from loose debris and leaves that may have fallen overnight.

Crews in the woods experienced 25-35 inch diameter "green" pines trees were fallen due to drought and fire, as well as hollow trees were catching fire.
Winds are a big concern, as forecasted winds throughout the day will be gusting from 10-24 mph. 

Forty wildfire personnel from the Tennessee Forestry Division, Tennessee State Parks and the Nevada Forestry will be back at both fires.
There is still a "NO FLY ZONE" area over these two wildfires. 

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will be flying over the wildfires to update the amount of acres burning using the digital mapping survey software.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Flipper Bend fire has burned 230 acres, jumping the fire breaks at the north end of the area according to officials.

The Army National Guard will have a helicopter making water drops Tuesday.

The South flank is contained within the fire breaks. 

The Mowbray Woods fire is undetermined but contained. 

Currently, there are 40 wild land firefighters from the Tennessee Forestry, Tennessee Parks and Nevada Forestry battling the fires.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Forestry Division issued an update for the Flipper Bend fire Monday morning.

  • Currently, 20 wildland firefighters from TN Forestry Division and TN State Parks are back in the woods this morning to tie the top of Flipper Bend fire breaks with the bottom end of Flipper Bend.
  • Ten additional wildland firefighters from other states will be coming in today to assist tn forestry and tn state parks with the Flipper Bend wildland fires
  • 150+ acres are currently burning
  • The top of Flipper Bend is contained within the fire breaks
  • The bottom end of Flipper Bend is partially contained within the fire breaks.
  • Two helicopters from the National Guard will be flying with water drops this afternoon. Currently, helicopters are in Sequatchie county dropping water on another wildland fire
  • Currently there is no structure endangerment
  • Wildland firefighters will be cutting large fire breaks today and removing any loose tree stumps/debris from potentially catching on fire
  • Steep terrain and unstable rocks will be a challenge today for wildfire personnel
  • Weather is in their favor today, with light winds forecasted
  • There are temporary flight restrictions (TFR) in place with the Federal Aviation Administration over the general area of the Flipper Bend wildfire. 
  • This is to include all aircraft including drones in order to protect the helicopters and airplanes fighting fire suppression at Flipper Bend.

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