Note: This story was updated at 4 p.m. Nov. 22.
PETROS—Arson is suspected in a fire that started this weekend and has burned about 452 acres in mountain forests a few miles east and northeast of Petros, authorities said Monday.
The fire emitted a gray-white smoke plume that stretched for miles across an otherwise clear blue sky on Monday. The plume initially appeared to angle southwest into Morgan County past Petros and Coalfield. Later in the afternoon, it appeared to shift more to the south, moving closer to Oak Ridge. The plume was visible from as far away as Interstate 40 in west Knox County.
The fire appeared to be roughly south of Beech Grove Baptist Church on Highway 116 in north Anderson County. That church is about four miles northeast of the former Brushy Mountain prison in Morgan County.
The fire is off Bald Knob Road near the Anderson County-Morgan County line in east Morgan County and northwest Anderson County. Firefighters said it is on a trail called Trail 44. Area residents said it’s the Gillontine Trail. [Read more…]