A fire started at one Pigeon Forge cabin Sunday afternoon, then spread quickly to encompass a 135-acre area, according to CBS news. The fire has already destroyed at least 35 cabins at Black Bear Ridge Resort.
According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, nearly 30 different fire departments from East Tennessee are trying to help control the blaze. Two Black Hawk helicopters from the Tennessee Air National Guard left this morning at 7 a.m. to survey the situation. According to Perrin Anderson, spokesman for Sevier County, the helicopters will then go to Douglas Lake and dip water with large buckets and drop it on the fire.
So far, there are no reports of injuries, but at least 150 people have been evacuated from the area.
Firefighters are expecting to continue fighting through tonight, though they hope to get some help from rain forecasts.
No one is yet reporting how the fire started, but it’s likely that it started at a rental cabin. Many of the cabin resorts (like Black Bear Ridge) have cabins packed so close together that fires can get out of control very, very quickly. How can you make sure this doesn’t happen when you are staying at a cabin?
Fire safety while staying in the mountains
- It is ILLEGAL to shoot fireworks in Sevier county, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, which encompasses ALL rental cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
- Don’t bring fireworks to your mountain cabin, even if it is the 4th of July. Novelty fireworks are allowed, but anything with a 1.4G written on the box is not allowed — usually anything that needs an ignition source or needs to be lit.
- Make sure to make fires only in fire grates while staying in the mountains.
- While using the fire, make sure you do the following:
- Keep your fire to a manageable size
- Never leave the fire unattended
- Make sure kids and pets are supervised when near the fire
- Never cut live trees or branches from live trees.
- When you are finished with your fire:
- Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
- Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL the embers, not just the red ones
- Pour until hissing sound stops
- Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
- Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
- If you do not have water, use dirt