By Brad Hicks
A fire burning on roughly 70 acres of private property on Tumbling Creek Road, which started Monday evening, was contained Tuesday.
Heather Griffin, Jacob Creek Job Corps Assistant Fire Management Officer, said this fire is one of several in the region which crews with the U.S. Forest Service have responded to. Griffin said multiple personnel remain on the scene of the Tumbling Creek area wildfire.
Griffin said the fire was reported at approximately 8 p.m. Monday evening. Heavy smoke continued to blanket Unicoi County on Tuesday afternoon. Griffin said crews are also working multiple wildfires in Western North Carolina and that much of the smoke seen throughout this region is coming from those fires.
“That’s going to be what we call drift smoke, and it’s coming across the mountains and it’s laying here in this valley,” Griffin said. “We just don’t have any transport winds to move that out.”
Griffin said multiple out-of-state resources are assisting with the fires at this time. She also said the wildfires, including the one in the Tumbling Creek area, will remain staffed until there is a significant rainfall or snowfall.
Valerya Hyrne, support services supervisor with the Cherokee National Forest Watauga Ranger District, said it has been determined that the fire was caused by the property owner dumping hot ashes from a stove or fireplace on his land, which is located near the Cherokee National Forest boundary.
Hyrne also suggested that children, the elderly and those with breathing conditions remain indoors until the weather changes and the wind pushes some of the smoke out of Unicoi County.