Very dry autumn brings numerous wildfires to the southeast

Currently there are 38 fires in the south that have each burned at least 100 acres.

Above: Local residents keep an eye on the Dicks Creek Fire near Sylva in western North Carolina. Photo by Jason Farmer, The Sylva Herald.

Most areas in the southeast United States have not received any significant rain in dozens of days. It has been more than 70 days for some locations in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. This has resulted in many wildfires breaking out in recent weeks.

days since rain southeast
Southern Area Coordination Center.

Currently there are 38 active fires in the Southern Geographic area that have each burned more than 100 acres, prompting the Southern Area Coordination Center to raise the preparedness level as high as it will go, to Level 5, something that does not happen very often.

southern area planning level 5
Graphic by the Southern Area Coordination Center

Large numbers of firefighting resources have moved into the south to help combat the blazes. The figures below include those that were en route, committed, or staged in the area as of Monday morning.

  • 5 Incident Management Teams (2 Type 1 and 3 Type 2)
  • 56 hand crews (8 Type 1, 22 Type 2, and 26 fire suppression modules)
  • 5 air tankers (3 large, and 2 Single Engine Air Tankers)
  • 29 helicopters (9 Type 1, 4 Type 2, and 16 Type 3)
  • 1,632 Overhead personnel

The audio in the video below is an interview with Mike Dueitt, the Incident Commander of a Type 1 Incident Management Team from the Southern Geographic Area currently managing multiple wildfires in North Carolina. The images in the video were taken October 24 through November 6, 2016.

These still photos were taken at or near the 532-acre Dicks Creek Fire, which is about 1.5 miles northwest of Sylva, North Carolina. They were all shot by Jason Farmer of the Sylva Herald. About 31 structures are threatened by the fire, which is being fought by 59 personnel.

wildfires western North Carolina
Smoky skies near Sylva, North Carolina. Photo by Jason Farmer, The Sylva Herald.

Continue reading “Very dry autumn brings numerous wildfires to the southeast”

Aerial firefighting on the Black Forest Fire

Blackhawk
Blackhawk, June 12, 2013, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet

The military has been supplying numerous photos and some videos of their firefighting activities on the Black Forest Fire. Helicopters from the Colorado National Guard and Fort Carson as well as C-130 MAFFS air tankers are assisting firefighters on the ground. Here are seven photos of aircraft taken on June 12 by military personnel. The DC-10 is not military, but is working under a contract with the U. S. Forest Service.

Blackhawk dipping
Blackhawk dipping, June 12, 2013, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet
Blackhawk, dipping up to 500 gallons
Blackhawk, dipping up to 500 gallons, June 12, 2013,, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet

Continue reading “Aerial firefighting on the Black Forest Fire”

More lightning fires in Arkansas

More than 1,000 wildfires burned this year in Arkansas, according to KAIT8 news, and many were human-caused. But lightning’s rising on the list of causes for fires in the state. State Forester Joe Fox said that 15 percent of Arkansas fires are usually caused by lightning — and some years it’s under 3 percent. But according to Fox, lightning has caused more than half the fires in the last two months.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission yesterday activated military Blackhawks for fire suppression in the state.