Mother Nature, ‘Nicole’ expected to give firefighters a helping hand

Firefighters with the Tennessee Division of Forestry are eagerly awaiting the rainfall expected to move in to the area from the remnants of once-Hurricane Nicole over the next 24 hours as they battle several active wildfires across the region.

With dry conditions and gusty breezes, overnight and early this morning, state officials reported active wildfires in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan and Roane counties in our immediate service area as well as in Sevier County.

The Anderson County fire was first reported Wednesday night on property at 6793 New River Highway in Briceville. The latest update from fire crews, issued early Thursday morning, indicated the fire had burned approximately 100 acres and was described as 0% contained. There have been no reports of flames threatening any structures.

In Roane County, crews continue to monitor wildfires burning on or around Rockwood Mountain near Interstate 40. Those fires have led to periodic lane closures and other traffic restrictions along I-40 and on Highway 70.

A fire that began in Campbell County’s Duff community over a week ago that has burned almost 300 acres is still described as active by forestry officials. Late Wednesday night, the state listed the 294-acre fire as “contained,” but early Thursday changed that designation back to “active.” That fire, located just south of the state line with Kentucky, is also not threatening any structures at this time.

A smaller, 40-acre wildfire was reported just before 6 am along Stoney Fork Road in the southern portion of Campbell County. At last check, that fire was listed as 0% contained.

Morgan County has also seen an active wildfire season thus far, as a few small fires measuring about one acre have been reported and contained, and one larger fire is burning along Petros Highway inside the boundaries of Frozen Head State Park. That fire had burned 65 acres and is said to be 75% contained.

For a map of all the current wildfires burning in Tennessee, follow this link.

The National Weather Service says that today (11/10/22) will be partly sunny, with a high near 73, and light winds.

Later tonight, the forecast calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, which become steadier and more likely overnight with a thunderstorm possible after 2am, followed by some patchy fog before sunrise. Lows around 60. The NWS places the chance of precipitation at 80% with new rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Friday looks to be wet throughout the day, as the NWS and our own Captain Accurate, David Aldrich, both agree that rain will be a near-certainty, with showers likely, rumbles of thunder, and locally heavy downpours possible for Veterans Day, all associated with the remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Nicole, which came ashore Wednesday on the Atlantic coast of Florida as a Category 1 hurricane. Daytime temperatures will be in the low to mid 60s, and after 4 pm, chances for rain begin to diminish.

Overnight Friday, mostly cloudy skies will keep temperatures in the low to mid 40s heading into Saturday morning.

Aldrich forecasts that a few showers may linger into the early afternoon, with mostly cloudy skies and highs only reaching into the low 50s.

Saturday night ushers in very cold weather, with overnight lows in the mid to upper 20s and clear skies.

Whenever the rain does arrive here in East Tennessee, few if any will be as grateful to see it as those on the front lines battling these wildfires.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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