Forest Service responding to increased fire activity

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

CLEVELAND – Wildland firefighters with the Cherokee National Forest are now responding to multiple fires on the National Forest as drought and dry conditions persist elevating fire danger. A cluster of fires near Famer, managed together as the Buck Bald Fire, are being investigated as arson.

– Hogum Hollow 44 acres, North Zone, 2 miles SW of Roan Mountain
– Bullet 78 acres, South Zone, 5 miles SE of Etowah
– Buck Bald 140 acres, South Zone, 2 miles north of Famer

“We’re seeing a rapid increase in wildfires across the forest placing people, homes and infrastructure at great risk,” said Stephanie Bland, deputy forest supervisor with the Cherokee National Forest. “Human-caused fires take valuable resources away from the protection of people and structures making dry conditions much more dangerous for everyone.”

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Wildland firefighters are working night and day on each of these fires to contain the spread. Crews are using existing roads and terrain features to block the spread of wildfire with the aid of water drops from aircraft. Some structures are at risk as these fires spread to private property. The Forest Service is working with private property owners to protect structures.

Wildland firefighters ask the public to help by reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement. “We’re investigating multiple fires as arson and our message to the public is if you see something, say something,” said Bland.

Dried fuels remain ready to burn quickly aided by dry conditions that are expected to continue Thursday.