Black Hawk helicopters joined efforts to contain the English Mountain fire on Tuesday by dropping water on the active fireline and areas at risk of catching fire.
The wildfire on English Mountain, located in the Breeden Brand Road and Wildwood Way area, was first reported to to Sevier County dispatch Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, and has since grown to 220 acres with 70% containment. Firefighting crews from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry have been battling flames since Saturday, but the area is remote with a steep, rocky terrain that has hampered efforts. Personnel also encountered venomous snakes.
Black Hawk Helicopters completed about 75 water drops Tuesday on an area that was very dry and say it has now been moistened to the point that it will be tougher for the fire to grow. Several water drops were concentrated in an area that dozers could not access due to the terrain.
Photos of English Mountain fire operations from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture
“Today, Black Hawk helicopters aided efforts by strategically dropping water where it was needed most,” the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said in a statement. “The drops will focus on cooling the most active parts of the fireline, as well as wetting down unburned fuels that are at risk of ignition. Operations like this require guidance from the ground, constant communication, and an incredible amount of teamwork among local, state and federal partners.”
Firefighting crews are expected to stay on the fire until a significant rainfall occurs. The National Weather Service in Morristown forecasts a chance of showers on Wednesday.
No homes are threatened at this time.
“When fighting a wildfire in difficult terrain, it may be necessary to drop water from the air. Crews have been hard at work, using Blackhawk helicopters to fill the buckets (known as Bambi buckets) and then dropping the water where it will do the most good,” officials said.
Photos and Video: Tennessee Department of Agriculture/Facebook