Fire agencies see relief; fire fully contained

Published 4:48 pm Monday, April 25, 2016

After an eight-day fire fight, the Railroad Grade Fire was finally at 100 percent containment on Monday morning.

According to a press release sent by the Southern Area Gold Incident Management Team, the potential for growth and spread is unlikely. The fire, which began April 18 grew from five acres Tuesday afternoon to a total of 1,747. Though more than 130 persons were on site fighting the fire on various days, that number was reduced to 60 Monday morning, April 25.

Departments at work include U.S. Forest Service, Tennessee Division of Forestry, Carter County Sheriff, Hampton and roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Departments, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Corrections and Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as the Southern Area Gold Team.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The press release stated though weather temperatures are forecasted in the upper 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, rain and thunderstorms are predicted mid-week.

“Firefighters will continue to monitor and perform mop-up operations as necessary and begin suppression rehabilitation,” the press release said.

Restrictions and closures of Railroad Grade Road and the Appalachian Trail are now open, and firefighters are continuing work to clear any potential hazards, the release said.

No residencies, commercial buildings or outbuildings were reported lost according to the Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC).

Personnel on site has reduced from 100 people Saturday with numerous bulldozers, hellicopters and water tenders to 60 people Monday.

The next closest fire of similar caliber is burning 0.25 miles west of Hot Springs, North Carolina at 1,577 acres, according to SACC. On Sunday, that fire, dubbed Silver Mine Fire, was only 10 percent contained and reportedly attributed to human cause.

According to Mitch Ketron in the Watauga Ranger District with the U.S. Forest Service, the last fire in Carter County of a similar caliber to the Railroad Grade Fire burned up 900 acres in April 2010 on Jenkins Mountain.