New wildfire on Fredonia Mountain threatening million-dollar hom - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

WILDFIRE WATCH

New wildfire on Fredonia Mountain threatening million-dollar homes

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SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

As crews work to get existing wildfires under control, new ones continue to spark across the Tennessee Valley.

The most recent one is burning just yards away from million-dollar homes in Sequatchie County.

Officials said the fire on Fredonia Mountain started Monday morning, and came within 30 feet of some homes inside a gated community.

Neighbors like Donald Rifkin know the risk is real.

"Living in a log home in the middle of the forest, it's the one thing we were trying to avoid and hoping never to see -- a fire approaching the back of the house," he said.

The flames inside the Fredonia Mountain Nature Resort are an unsettling sight.

Crews still aren't sure what sparked the fire.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Bradley, Murray, Polk, Walker and counties added to state burn ban list

"We've been concerned all day and all night long because the smoke," Rifkin said. "At night, when the sun went down, we were able to see the flames behind the house."

Bulldozers were seen passing through backyards and strengthening fire breaks to keep the flames contained overnight. So far, 300 acres have burned.

"In that area, they do have a guard shack with a guard, so we get them to make passes during the night," said EMA Director Winfred Smith. "About every hour, they ride through the area, watching to see if they see any other new flare-ups."

Smith said the county is not evacuating any homes just yet. Right now, they are confident the lines will hold.

"We're going to try to leave (residents) in place as long as we can," said Smith. "We'll move them if we have any knowledge, or if we think it will be hazardous to them, we'll get them out in plenty of time."

In the meantime, residents are thinking "worst case scenario" to protect their homes.

"We thought, if we needed to, we could get out there and hose the house, just to keep the embers off," Rifkin added.

With smoke rising from his back yard, he knows his home isn't "out of the woods" yet. But he's grateful it's still standing, thanks to quick-acting firefighters and volunteers.

"It's because of them that our homes have been saved," Rifkin said.

Every county in the Channel 3 viewing area is now under some type of burn ban.

In East Tennessee, all open air burning is illegal. That includes campfires, fire pits and outdoor grilling.

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