Friday, March 02, 2007

Wildfire in Cove Mountain TN chars 500 acres and destroys 6 vacation rental cabins.

High winds, dead tress and the right conditions for a fire spelled disaster for the Cove Mountain area of Wears Valley in Sevier County Tennessee where flames as high as 50 feet tall have kept crews busy to suppress this untamed beast.

Firefighters have even contemplated using a helicopter if necessary to dump water on the fire. Presently crews have already been using bulldozers to create a fire break to keep the fire contained. Another firefighting tactic that is going to be deployed is to set smaller "back fires" in order to keep the fire from spreading along the fire break the firefighters created with the bulldozers.

Although the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, since there has been an infestation of pine beetles in the trees in the Cove Mountain area, the fire has been using the abundance of dead and damaged trees as a fuel source further accelerating the growth and speed of the wild fire.

Nathan Waters the Assistant Director of Forestry for the Tennessee Division of Forestry was quoted as saying "It's the high winds that are hurting us the most even though we got some rain the winds keep it dry and keeps the fire moving".

Local residents close to the blaze as well as cabin rental companies managing property for absentee owners are keeping a close eye on the situation.

This wildfires damage has been exacerbated by the fact that an insect infestation killed or damaged trees in the area. This further demonstrates the fact that that the Hemlock woolly adelgid that is infesting and destroying many of the hemlock trees throughout the entire Smoky Mountain region must be brought under control. Please support the Friends of Smokies page in their battle for this important cause.

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