Dry conditions fuel forest fire in Campbell County

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WATE) – Campbell County Sheriff’s Office confirms that the Forestry Service is battling a wildfire in the mountains near Jacksboro at The Devil’s Racetrack.

The Sheriff’s Office says the fire sparked last night in close proximity to interstate 75. The flames are now causing the roadway to be filled with smoke.

Crews spent the day trying to put out the flames, which continue to spread where people hike near the Cumberland Trail in Campbell County.

Bob Fulcher, park manager, said crews have their work cut out for them.

“This fire is on the front end of the Cumberland plateau, the Cumberland uplift and therefore this terrain is going to be steep and rocky,” Fulcher said. “Fire moves pretty quickly up these mountain slopes, because they’re some of the steepest in Tennessee.”

Fulcher said rocky terrain is making the fire difficult for crews to get to and the drought-like conditions are causing the fire to quickly spread. The blaze already engulfing 20 acres, with members of the Forestry expecting the fire to spread to up to 200 acres.

So far officials do not know how large of an area is on fire or whether any structures are in danger.

Still, experts urge people in the area to use caution.

“People have to be very careful at times like this,” Fulcher said. “It can create great danger.”

WATE 6 On Your Side has a crew on the scene gathering the latest information on the story.

TN Department of Forestry says Campbell Co fire is the start of a very active fire season

October 15th was the first day of fire season. The fire in Campbell County started on the second day of fire season and the TN Department of Forestry says this is just the beginning of an active fire season.

“Right now, we are in week 4 or 5 without any rainfall in this area,” said Bruce Miller, TN Department of Forestry.

Miller with the TN Department of Forestry says the moderate drought in East Tennessee will make fires like the one in Campbell County more common this fall. Miller says he has not seen dry conditions in this area since 2000.

“So we are running 15 to 16 years ago that condition were this dry,” said Miller.

Miller says fire activity will get more active.

“We need to be cognoscente of the fact that its just going to get worse until we get a change in weather pattern,” said Miller.

Miller urges homeowners to be even more careful when burning during this season.

“They think it’s completely out but there is just enough embers there and conditions are so dry that it will creep out,” said Miller.

Miller says fire crews could be working on the fire in Campbell County for a week.

This is a developing story. For the latest updates on breaking news, traffic, weather and more download the WATE 6 On Your Side News app.

This map shows the general area affected by the fire.

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