The Rocky Top wildfire that started last week and emitted smoke visible for miles had burned 397 acres and was 100 percent contained by mid-morning Thursday, according to the Tennessee Division of Forestry.
In a press release, Anderson County officials said forestry crews remained at the site to continue clearing lines of leaves that have fallen to the ground. Falling leaves that could cross fire lines was one of the main concerns of state officials.
The fire was reported off Scott Brogan Lane at about 6 p.m. Saturday. That road is across Lake City Highway from Lake City Middle School, south of downtown Rocky Top. Forestry crews estimated that they cut roughly 5.1 miles of fire line around the fire since it was reported.
On Wednesday, Tennessee Division of Forestry spokesperson Nathan Waters said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
“It was a long fire” and on a steep slope, Waters said.
Firefighters build lines using equipment like bulldozers and leaf blowers to contain fires by depriving them of fuel.
As of Wednesday, no one had been injured, and no structures had been damaged.
“We’ve been lucky,” Waters said.
Leean Tupper, public information officer for Anderson County Emergency Management Agency, said firefighters from the state and local volunteer and city fire departments helped contain the wildfire and protect people and property.
“Without the dedication and hard work of each of them, 52 homes and 43 outbuildings could have been lost to this blaze,” Tupper said. “We want to thank all of those who have worked so tirelessly to ensure that our community is safe and to bring this wildfire under control.”
It was one of two major fires in Anderson County last week. The other, called the Tioga fire and also reported Saturday, was near the Anderson County-Morgan County line in the New River area. Off Highway 116, it grew to 500 acres and burned for three days. The cause of that fire is also under investigation.
Waters said firefighters were able to use old coal roads and logging roads to build bulldozer lines around that fire, and there were not many houses in the area.
On Thursday, Anderson County Emergency Management Agency encouraged residents to refrain from burning any outside debris, using outdoor gas or charcoal grills, or starting campfires or bonfires. The Tennessee Division of Forestry currently is not issuing any burn permits, the ACEMA said.
Some rain showers were forecast for the area Thursday night into Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Waters said the Tennessee Division of Forestry had about up to 25 firefighters and seven bulldozers respond to the Anderson County fires.
Fire season in Tennessee runs October 15 to May 15. There is a burn ban in Oak Ridge. That ban was issued by Oak Ridge Fire Chief Travis Solomon on November 5.
“Due to the dry conditions in our region, no burn permits will be issued until further notice,” the City of Oak Ridge said. “Outdoor burning without a permit is banned by city ordinance.”
You can call ORFD with any questions at (865) 425-3520.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Many news stories on Oak Ridge Today are free, brought to you by Oak Ridge Today with help from our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. This is a free story. Thank you to our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. You can see what we cover here.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today!
Alternatively, you can donate to support our work here. Thank you for your support!
Copyright 2023 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.