Forest Fire Still Burning

Bushfirethreat in national park

25 February 2007

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USA — Firefighters are battling one the largest fires they’ve seen in years.More than five hundred acres have burned in Prentice Cooper State Park in MarionCounty.

Forestry Officials say someone started this fire on purpose. Fortunately thefire isn’t threatening any homes, but officials say this act of arson is beingtaken seriously.

This fire has been burning everything in its path since Thursday.

Firefighters are putting in long hours trying to contain the blaze inPrentice Cooper State Park, but they say the rough terrain, wind, and dryconditions are making it hard.

“Our hearts are with them. We just pray for their safety and hope we canget enough of the right resources to keep it contained and put out,” DavidFly says.

Fly visits the park once a month to ride the trails with his family. And he’sis aggravated to find out that someone started this fire on purpose.

“Well that just makes me mad,” Fry says.

The fire has burned more than 500 acres and Forester Tom Hudlow says thatpresents a problem in and of it self.

“It’s just difficult to control when it gets this big just due to size,”Hudlow says.

Tonight’s rain will help but won’t put the fire out completely.

“But it would give our crews a break for one thing. Where they’reworking 12-16 hrs a day, it’s going to give them some rest and even if they canget one good night sleep it’s going to make a big difference on safety fromtheir stand point also,” Hudlow says.

Fly wants whoever started this fire to think about the damage they’ve doneand how it’s affecting the families who enjoy the park.

“What they’re doing to the rest of us by you know it’sunnecessary…find something else to destroy in a protected environment,”Fly says.

And Hudlow wants the arsonist to make the right decision.

“I’d like to see ’em come forward and confess what they did i think thatthey don’t realize what they’re doing,” Hudlow says.

Hudlow says there were twelve fires in southeast Tennessee yesterday and thatmost of them were arson. He also says you need to be careful when you areburning. The first thing you have to do is get a burning permit. Also make sureyou have a good line around the fire and have tools to help put out your fire.And make sure you never leave the fire while it’s burning.

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