Update on the fires on Signal and Fox mountains

Update on the fires on Signal and Fox mountains

October 16th, 2016 by Emmett Gienapp in Local Regional News

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 10/12/16. Tennessee Division of Forestry and other personnel continue to battle a wildfire burning atop Signal Mountain.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Gallery: October Wildfire on slopes of Signal Mountain

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POLL: Do you burn leaves and brush?

Persistently dry conditions aren't helping the effort against a forest fire on Fox Mountain in Dade County, Ga., that had expanded to over 1,800 acres by Saturday afternoon.

Seth Hawkins, a spokesman for the Georgia Forestry Commission, said 45 percent of the perimeter had been contained as of press time, but added that's most needed is a change in the weather.

"We're going to need rain," he said. "Until we get a good solid rain, we're in it for the long haul."

Hawkins said four hand crews and several bulldozers have been working for several days to clear brush and make firebreaks. No buildings are in danger and firefighters are focusing on keeping the fire to a confined area.

He said approximately 60 responders are working to contain the blaze, but there's only so much that can be done when the weather is this dry.

"We're kind of stuck in a holding pattern," he said.

While responders and residents in Dade County look to the sky for a rain cloud, Hawkins warns against complacency when it comes to traveling near forest fires. He said people in the area should be aware of what is happening around them and react appropriately.

"If you see smoke, slow down and be conscious," he said to commuters.

The news is much better across the state border ,where responders have managed to contain a much smaller brush fire on the side of Waldens Ridge in the area of Roberts Mill Road.

Some smoke is still rising from the remains of the blaze, but Shannon Gann, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Forestry Division, said the fire was through.

After days of slogging through the brush, the dozens of responders who fought the fire have been demobilized and Gann said there are "just three people right now" who are keeping an eye on what little is still burning.

Gann said the end was in sight Friday morning and responders spent the day "mopping up." She estimated the fire had reached approximately 190 acres.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at egienapp@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731. Follow on Twitter @emmettgienapp.