Sevier County crews contain wildfire near subdivision

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Crews in Sevier County have contained a wildfire that consumed 12 acres and threatened a subdivision.

The fire was reported on 1615 Mountain Dreams Way off Laurel Lick Road and Mill Creek Road around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday Crews said just before 9 p.m. that the fire had been contained.

Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson says the fire burned 12 acres and four cabin the Serenity Cove North development in Pigeon Forge were dangerously close. The fire started as a camp fire and then got out of control. Two families evacuated and every fire department in the county responded.

“You don’t really know what you’re going to get until you get up here. That was when 911 was telling us they had asked some people to evacuate. You can’t see the top of that mountain right there, but that’s a ridge, Cove Mountain. It would have made a really nice run up that hill if the fire would have traveled in that direction,” said Watson.

Firefighters worked the fire for nearly 10 hours .They say warm temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions on the mountains helped spread the fire,

“All at once I looked up and back over toward Serenity Cove was just a gushing smoke,” said Betty Greene Shook. “I thought, ‘Lord where’s that coming from? It keeps getting worse and worse.’”

Smoke and flames came over the ridge threatening Shook and her home.

“I started getting my dog and it was panicky. I was very frantic,” she said.

“About 30 percent humidity is what we were facing up there yesterday so it was low. Temperatures were about 80 degrees so it just made for all those right conditions,” said Watson.

He says the conditions were perfect to fuel the blaze which Watson says started as a campfire outside a nearby cabin.

About 60 firefighters from throughout the county and the forestry service battled the flames finally getting a line built around it to stop the spreading, saving the nearby homes, but leaving 12 acres of the mountain left charred.

“Our forester had a lot of problems with the dead pine trees and getting a lot of undergrowth up there, and it was so flipping steep,” said Watson. “We couldn’t use any of the dozers we normally use with Tennessee Division of Forestry to put in our fire lines. They had to be put in by hand.”

Without a nearby source of water, tanker trucks traveled several miles back into Pigeon Forge. They made many trips to bring back about 10,000 gallons to get the fire under control.

“It adds to every bit of time, everything that you have to do and you think just 12 acres but it was a very difficult 12 acres,” said Watson.

Shook and her neighbor evacuated their homes.

“They kept taking the water and hauling it back and forth over there, and we tried to come back up and they told us we couldn’t come back up just yet,” said Shook.

Fire crews successfully kept the flames from reaching any of the nearby homes. Homeowners and renters were allowed to return late Wednesday night thankful their houses are still standing

“Please just be careful when you do come to visit these mountains because it’s not just your life. It’s the lives of people that live here. It’s the life of nature,” said Shook. “Thank god for the firefighters because they give their lives to try to help save us and to try to save our homes.”

Firefighters are reminding people to be careful if they are burning anything this week. They say it is a good idea to keep anything you are burning at least 50 feet from your home and make sure you have a water source nearby in case it starts to get out of control.

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