Carter County firefighters help battle massive blaze on Buffalo Mountain

Published 5:41 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
Firefighters from the Tennessee Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service are still working to control a forest fire on Buffalo Mountain, but the fire that has burned over 100 acres of the mountain was 40% contained as of Monday morning.
James Heaton, a forest technician with the Tennessee Division of Forestry, said Monday that the fire is still burning within firefighters’ containment lines and that they are working to clear pockets of unburnt fuel and dead, standing trees.
“We’re just working those areas, making sure that we have a good solid containment line around the fire, and right now we have a dozer line and hand line in place. We’re not at 100% containment,” Heaton said.
An interactive map of forest fires in the state, operated by the Tennessee Division of Forestry, has been updated to show the fire as 40% contained Monday morning.
“Currently, we are not overly concerned about any potential threat to structures or residences in the area, though there were points on Sunday where the fire was threatening structures near Bill Garland Road,” Heaton said.
Heaton said firefighters were concerned about the fire damaging the towers on top of the mountain, but they were able to prevent that from occurring.
Billy Harrell, director of the Carter County Emergency Management Agency, said that the fire appeared to be put out on Monday, but state forestry division firefighters had to be brought back to the scene around 11 a.m.
Harrell said that at the fire’s peak, firefighters from four fire departments were on the scene. Those departments included members of the Johnson City Fire Department, members of the West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department, members of the Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department and members of the Central Volunteer Fire Department.
Heaton described the fire as one of the largest that Johnson City has seen in about a decade.
To view the state’s interactive wildfire map, visit https://www.tn.gov/tnwildlandfire/suppression/current-wildfires.html
More updates will be provided on the wildfire as it is released.

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