How the Tennessee Valley wildfires are different from those out - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How the Tennessee Valley wildfires are different from those out West

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DADE COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

Forestry crews in Georgia are using their experience fighting fires out West to help them at home. They're working day and night to make sure homes in the Cloverdale and Tatum Gulf communities are protected. 

Channel 3 found out how the fires in the Tennessee Valley measure up to those out West and why wildfires aren't necessarily a bad thing.

A line of orange flames snaked into the brush along Tatum Gulf Road on Saturday. It was an alarming sight for those who call it home. 

Firefighters with the Georgia Forestry Commission met the flames with hoses in hand. They spent the day burning areas around these homes on purpose. 

Julian Wilson watched the fire char his landscape. He has no choice, but to trust these professionals will keep his home safe. 

"I was very much surprised. I've never seen anything like this. But they've got a good handle on it and they've got a good plan and are following it to a T," Julian Wilson, a resident said.

Wilson like many in the Tennessee Valley have only heard of wildfires like this happening out West. 

Seth Hawkins with the Georgia Forestry Commission said crews are using their experience from fighting those fires here at home. 

"Fire actually climbs up a hill faster than it does on flatland. So we've been having to just do basically things that will slow it down so a lot of those tactics have seen similar to what you see out West," Seth Hawkins with the Georgia Forestry Commission said. 

Fires in California and the Rocky Mountains are typically a lot bigger. Crews allowed those fires to burn because they didn't threaten structures, but in the Tennessee Valley it's a different story.

There are about 25 homes along the road and they all need protection. 

"Just burning up the fuel for the fire for when the fire gets to the home lots there's nothing else to burn so the fire just kind of goes out on it's own," Hawkins said.

Even though more than 500 acres burn on Lookout Mountain, Hawkins said fires can actually be a good thing. They help reset the ecosystem's clock. 

"A lot of the species in southern forest are fire adapted and they actually kind of like that. If we can get through this whole fire season without any loss of life or structures which so far we have at the end of the day this might be kind of good for the forest," Hawkins said. 

Wilson hopes what's good for the forest is not bad for the neighborhood. 

"It'll be smoky up here for probably three or four weeks," Wilson said.
 

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