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Volunteers' quick response contains Bluff City fire; blaze likely sparked by cigarette

Timesnews.net Staff • May 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Dry timber continues to smoke and smolder on the mountainside by Big Arm Branch Road, the site of a large brush fire Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Kacie Dingus/Timesnews.net


A two-acre fire off Big Arm Branch Road Tuesday afternoon carried the potential to burn much more land, but the quick response of local volunteer agencies contained the blaze within an hour.

"If they hadn't got up there and on it quick, who knows -- it could have (burned) 15, 20 acres," said Steve Bingham, a technician for the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Around 3:47 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, units from Piney Flats, Bluff City, Avoca and Hickory Tree responded to the scene, off Highway 19 near Bluff City. Fire engines and trucks blocked traffic on the tiny, dead end road as the crews worked to create a line around the fire. It was contained within about an hour after it began.

"Luckily it was on the side of the road where the burn was there was no house," Bingham said. "Luckily the Volunteer Fire Departments got up there quick and were able to get to the fire, jump on it on a hurry and knock it down."

Bingham said investigators were on the scene Wednesday morning, as arson was originally considered as a cause. But, based on statements from people in the area, whom saw no strange vehicles or people on the road, Bingham said the blaze was most likely sparked by a carelessly disregarded cigarette.

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