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Hiwassee area fire rages on

Firefighters from throughout the New River Valley were battling a woods fire in the Hiwassee area that started Friday afternoon and had grown to about 150 acres by Saturday evening.
Chip Hutchinson, fire marshal for Pulaski County, said just before 5 p.m. that the fire was “no where near under control.”
The blaze was first reported around 3 p.m. Friday, near Ward Lane and Julia Simpkins Road in the Irish Mountain area of Hiwassee. Hutchinson said it was covering an area of about 30 to 50 acres at that time, but had spread to about 100 acres by 9 a.m. Saturday.
Hutchinson estimated about 40 firefighters were on the scene Saturday evening, with others on standby at a nearby fire station. At that time, he indicated the fire was moving toward Cole Mountain, in the area behind Hoover Color.
Earlier in the firefighting effort, several homes were threatened, but firefighters were able to protect them. He said additional homes may be threatened if the blaze continues to approach Cole Mountain.
“We have crews trying to cut it off before it gets to that area,” he added.
Fire officials were expected to regroup at 8 p.m. Saturday. Hutchinson said firefighters may be pulled out of the area at that time because of the danger the rough terrain would pose to firefighters during nighttime hours.
“We would just have to hope the (fire) line holds” until crews can get back in there Sunday morning, he added.
In addition to Hiwassee Fire Department, others on the scene included forestry officials from Abingdon and Salem, and forestry strike teams including firefighters from Pulaski, Giles, Wythe and Carroll counties, and a Blue Ridge Strike Team.
The effort includes two dozer crews, two forestry engines, two hand crews and a helicopter.
One firefighter had to be treated for being overheated Saturday, but was sent back to the fire lines 30 to 40 minutes after receiving fluids and getting cooled down, Hutchinson said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Hutchinson.

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Hiwassee area fire rages on

Firefighters from throughout the New River Valley were battling a woods fire in the Hiwassee area that started Friday afternoon and had grown to about 150 acres by Saturday evening.
Chip Hutchinson, fire marshal for Pulaski County, said just before 5 p.m. that the fire was “no where near under control.”
The blaze was first reported around 3 p.m. Friday, near Ward Lane and Julia Simpkins Road in the Irish Mountain area of Hiwassee. Hutchinson said it was covering an area of about 30 to 50 acres at that time, but had spread to about 100 acres by 9 a.m. Saturday.
Hutchinson estimated about 40 firefighters were on the scene Saturday evening, with others on standby at a nearby fire station. At that time, he indicated the fire was moving toward Cole Mountain, in the area behind Hoover Color.
Earlier in the firefighting effort, several homes were threatened, but firefighters were able to protect them. He said additional homes may be threatened if the blaze continues to approach Cole Mountain.
“We have crews trying to cut it off before it gets to that area,” he added.
Fire officials were expected to regroup at 8 p.m. Saturday. Hutchinson said firefighters may be pulled out of the area at that time because of the danger the rough terrain would pose to firefighters during nighttime hours.
“We would just have to hope the (fire) line holds” until crews can get back in there Sunday morning, he added.
In addition to Hiwassee Fire Department, others on the scene included forestry officials from Abingdon and Salem, and forestry strike teams including firefighters from Pulaski, Giles, Wythe and Carroll counties, and a Blue Ridge Strike Team.
The effort includes two dozer crews, two forestry engines, two hand crews and a helicopter.
One firefighter had to be treated for being overheated Saturday, but was sent back to the fire lines 30 to 40 minutes after receiving fluids and getting cooled down, Hutchinson said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Hutchinson.

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