Massive wildfire in Fannin County continues to rage 3 weeks later

- Dry conditions continue to fuel wildfires which have been burning since the middle of October.

SKYFOX 5 flew over the Cohutta Wilderness in Fannin County on Monday. Fire officials said the fire there has forced the closure known as Rough Ridge to visitors.

More than 5,000 acres have burned so far and without any rain in the forecast it is unclear when firefighters will be able to get a hold of the fire.

Choppers hovered over the Cohutta wilderness dumping water, but with the current drought conditions and the leaves still on the trees, firefighters are fighting an uphill battle

“We’re really concerned about these drought conditions continuing and the availability of resources that can come in and help us, Susie Heisey, U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Forest Service brought in their southern area Gold Team four days ago to assist in getting this massive fire under control. Heisey said more than 250 people are working to get this fire contained and right now, the fire is moving west. She said that is good because it’s moving away from homes, but where the fire is headed is nothing, but wilderness.

“The wilderness is very steep terrain. It's very rugged and it's a natural wilderness. There's no roads or really good access points to get there. So many of the firefighters are hiking miles in to reach the fire line,” said Heisey.

There are 20-man USFS Hotshot crews from all over the country and Puerto Rico working the fire. The USFS has closed the wilderness area as well as a nearby camp ground and there is currently a burn ban for Fannin and Gilmer counties.

“Please be cautious. Don’t burn leaves, don’t even have a campfire or anything like that. We just ask people to follow that recommendation and hopefully there will be no new fires,” said Heisey.

The Rough Ridge fire broke out on October 17 and was believed to be sparked by a lightning strike.

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