Fire hits section of Cherokee Valley in North Georgia

Fire hits section of Cherokee Valley in North Georgia

February 28th, 2012 by Tim Omarzu in Local Regional News

Fire blazed through portions of downed trees in the Cherokee Valley area this afternoon. The trees had been blown down nearly a year ago when tornadoes devastated much of the area.

Photo by Tim Omarzu /Times Free Press.

Four days after firefighters met in Ringgold, Ga., to talk about the threat of fire breaking out in swaths of tornado-felled trees left over from 2011 tornados, a burn pile sparked a wildfire on tornado-slammed Cherokee Valley Road this afternoon.

The fire started around 1:40 p.m. and by 4 p.m., it had grown to cover roughly 20 acres. The wildfire, driven by a stiff northwest wind, jumped two bulldozed fire lines as it burned through tornado-felled timber.

"This is what we didn't want to happen," Catoosa County Deputy Fire Chief Jim White said as he monitored the blaze from a command post on Cherokee Valley Road.

One Georgia Forestry Commission bulldozer from Whitfield County was battling the blaze, and two more were en route from either Walker or Dade counties, Catoosa Battalion Chief Steve Quinn said.

By bulldozing firebreaks, firefighters aimed to prevent the blaze from moving up and over the ridge and to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.