SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thursday afternoon, crews responded to the scene of a large forest fire in Bedford County.
The fire began around 12:30 p.m. in the Horse Mountain area, just outside of Shelbyville.
“This is probably due to a lot of storms that we’ve had over the past two years, ice storms and stuff like that killed a lot of the trees on the hillside and they’ve started to rot and fall,” explained Fire Chief Mark Thomas with the Bedford County Fire department.
Multiple agencies are on the scene, with the Bedford County Fire Department leading the operation. Officials say the Tennessee State Forestry Department has also responded.
Drone footage from above showed the nearly 40-acre fire spread in a line throughout the trees.
“The Department of Forestry came in and they cut a fire break around, through the whole hillside with a dozer and now we’re starting to backburn the inside of that fire line right there so that the stuff that does fall, or if the wind picks up, then it doesn’t blow past our fire line and it will contain itself,” Chief Thomas said.
Officials told News 2, the fire started on the tallest mountains in the county. The heavy smoke even caught the attention of nearby residents.
“The smoke was pretty thick up in the woods, and it just got worse from there,” said Kenneth McClendon. “Just worried about it spreading down this way and burning everybody out.”
This is in an isolated area and fire personnel are taking ATVs along paths through the woods to access it. Officials are concerned about high winds and worked to build a barrier to prevent additional burning.
“Probably until we get some rain, I would recommend people not do any outside burning, it’s dry, all the leaves hit the ground and with it being Thanksgiving Day, we’ve got some 40 to 50 firefighters out here fighting this fire, and volunteers,” said Chief Thomas.
No evacuation orders are in effect at this time, but officials believe the fire could burn for the next day or two.