By Richard Rourk
Unicoi County authorities kept a close eye on a Buffalo Mountain blaze, which started in Carter County on Sunday afternoon. Several regional emergency agencies responded to a call for help to combat the blaze.
Unicoi County Emergency Management Director Jimmy Erwin has been on the scene battling the fire with several local firefighters in an effort to get control over the fire.
“The call came in today about noon on Sunday, March 27,” Erwin said. “I was requested about 12:30 p.m. by the Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department to bring a side-by-side with a spray tank on it. The jurisdiction fell within the West Carter Volunteer Fire Department and Johnson City Fire Department at the Okolona exit. That area is Johnson City inside Carter County.”
Erwin confirmed that the fire is continuing to burn and may do so for several days.
“At this time it looks like approximately 30 or more acres have burned,” Erwin said. “There are currently no houses in danger.”
With nightfall, firefighters continued to try to bring the blaze under control.
Erwin said that the fire will probably burn until late tonight and flames and smoke will probably be visible for a couple days. The goal, according to Erwin, is to prevent the blaze from spreading into the communication television towers on top of the mountain.
According to Erwin, several agencies will continue to work until the last flame is extinguished.
“The U.S. Forest Service and the Tennessee State Forestry are on scene,” Erwin said. “There are two helicopters dropping water on the fire.”Several agencies from Washington County Fire Departments, West Carter Carter County Fire Departments, Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department, Carter County Emergency Management, Unicoi Emergency Management, Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement have been on the scene and will continue to be until we can get this fire under control.”