Wednesday high winds could set fire crews back on Buffalo Mountain

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2022

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
A wildfire that has been burning on Buffalo Mountain since last week was 75% contained as of Tuesday, although a spot fire burned through a few additional acres and forced responding fire crews to fall back.
An interactive map showing all current wildfires in the state of Tennessee found here stated that the fire on Buffalo Mountain has spanned across 108 acres, but officials with the Tennessee Department of Forestry said that size could increase when fire crews will be able to better estimate the size later Wednesday.
Forest Technician with the Tennessee Department of Forestry James Heaton said that fire crews spent Tuesday burning fuel along the inner edge of their fire lines to prepare for high winds expected to hit the region on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service in Morristown advised that Johnson City could see wind gusts of 45 miles per hour, while higher elevations could see gusts of 80 miles per hour, keeping the fire danger risk high. A high fire risk warning, also known as a red flag warning, is in effect for Northeast Tennessee, with the region expected to see fast moving sustained winds ahead of thunderstorms expected to move in on Thursday.
Heaton said while it is always a good thing, it is difficult to predict how much of an impact the expected rain will have on the forest fire.
“It is never a good combination when you have an active fire and high winds,” Heaton said. “All that we can do is try to strengthen our fire lines as best we can. Last night’s spot fire was unfortunate, but it was somewhat expected. All we can do is keep everything in check through these winds, but that’s nearly impossible.”
Heaton said residents and others around the area of the forest fire should pay close attention to the fire and local media reports regarding it. While there is no current threat anticipated to affect structures around the area of the fire, Heaton said fire and high winds are able to change things quickly.
More updates will be provided on the Buffalo Mountain wildfire as it is available.

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