Fire Update For My Area…

Lot’s of readers have sent emails asking me about the forest fires in Tennessee, with the most common questions being – how close the fires have gotten to me, and if I’m okay. Thank everyone for asking and caring it means a lot to me and shows that we have a great community here.

First off, I’m fine and my home is fine, the fires got to within about a half a mile from my location a few weeks ago but that was successfully brought under control by firefighters and no deaths, injuries, or homes and or buildings were damaged by that fire.

For weeks there were forest fires popping up at random locations and a constant smell and fog of smoke all over the county but thankfully, there has not been any deaths or injuries or homes and or businesses damaged in my area that I’m aware of.

Unfortunately, Gatlinburg Tennessee which is about 85 miles to the south of me got the worst of it with reported loss of life with three people dead and many injuries and also many homes and businesses lost. The area has been devastated and will take several years to recover from the property damage, but the loss of life those families and loved ones will never fully recover from that.

Luckily, we have had rain here for the past two nights, with last night bringing an all night pour down that soaked everything… For the first time in weeks, I went outside this morning and stood on my porch and did not smell or see smoke.

Hopefully, the worst is over. But this is a lesson for preppers, well everyone really, and the lesson is that fire is a big threat to your property, preps and survival when you live in forested rural areas. Prepping for fire outbreak is a must – see this recent article “Preparing For And Protecting You Home And Or Retreat From Forest Fire” for information on how to do that.

If you’re in my area or the surrounding areas let me know how close the fire got to you and about any damages caused and preps that you are planning to make to combat any future fire outbreaks in you area.

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About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. American pacrat says:

    MD
    I was beginning to worry that they made evacuate from your new home. Good news to hear you and the new home are alright. Personally know what those who lost everything are about to go through & it is not a pretty site or feeling.

    This information is for all who have family &/or friends in those areas that burned.

    **Heads ups** wear a N-95 re-breathable mask when going though those burnt out properties or moving debris. Gloves that are comfort fit and disposable($5.00 packages of plastic on the palm side). Old clothes that you can use to clean up the properties with & then toss out due to unknown material you will come in contact with, also you may wish to wear shower caps from the $1 store to protect your hair each time you are working in that environment. Old work boots that can be cleaned, tennis shoes that can be tossed after you have finished working the sites. Make sure you watch where you step due to nails & screws which can penetrate the rubber soles. Baby wipes to remove most of the burnt materials off your body until you can shower or long sleeves shirts to protect your arms/neck.

    We went through this twice-first time home was saved–second time we lost it in a wild fire.
    Each states insurance underwriting guides lines are different..so make sure you know what Tennessee’s rules on your &/or families lost homes with a mortgagee entail. Here is why, in CA the insured(homeowner)can request IF the mortgage company does not a pay off on the loan. It means that the insurance company will pay off your loan, you will be debit free **BUT** realize if you do that request— what is the insurance company’s “responsible for your clean up” on the property & how do they handle the personal property coverage along with the additional living expenses on your policy.

    Yes, this is a lot to take in after a tragedy but better to take a step back and breathe without being pressured by insurance, contractors & whomever. Do not let them pressure you into a snap judgements, better to live in a travel trailer for a few months so you can get your priorities set in your mind.
    Our prayers go out to everyone who suffered from this tragedy. We have been in your shoes, that is why we are passing on this information, so you do not fall into the snap decision aswe did from being pressured

    • Babycatcher says:

      Thanks for the info. We are as prepared for fire here as we can be, but it’s still scary, cuz it’s so unpredictable, like tornadoes.

  2. Glad to hear you are OK, been praying for you and everyone else in the path of a wildfire.
    I am in NW GA and we have had a lot of smoke also. On the other side of town about 2,500 acres burned and some others not far away. Last night I read the article you mentioned. Very good info.
    As a result of the drought we are redesigning our rain barrels and adding more. DH and I are discussing where and how we can place some sprinklers around the homestead.

  3. Glad to know you and your home are safe. It is quite a tragedy.

  4. If yall need anything I can help with. You know how to get me.

  5. MD, glad that u & your home are safe. & prayers for those who lost loved ones or property. Our neighbors lost their home to fire last July (electrical fire), & I agree w/ the above comment to take time to step back emotionally & consider your options b4 making steps on how to move forward. To lose one’s home & everything in it is a traumatic event.
    For the rest of us, it’s a time to look at our fire prevention & response plans.

  6. I helped fight a wildfire once near Sierra Vista, Arizona many years ago. Smoky and H.O.T. One of the guys in my unit got a nasty dose of smoke inhalation.

    Glad you got through OK MD, and prayers are outbound for those that lost friends, family, and property.

    It’s been dry here in my part of Florida and the firefighters jump on any wildfire like white on rice. So far, they’ve been able to keep fires small. Had a little rain today, but really just enough to water the grass.

  7. MD
    Glad you came through relatively unscathed…..
    Are you aware of what caused them? Drought? Dept of Inferiors/Bureau of Land Mismanagement?
    Over the years I’ve become aware of horrendous practices on the part of our buddies to the East. One of which is letting underbrush thicken & another is leaving dead trees (vs removal). These practices wield a dual edge sword in aiding fire spread- aka provide a natural tinder.
    Aided & abetted by tree huggers & bambi lovers, of course.
    Watermelon: green on the outside, red on the inside.
    My best to you & yours& all site members!

  8. Glad to hear MD is safe in the new homestead. My BIL’s parents were ordered out of their cabin in Gatlinburg, TN on Sunday evening. The wife said the smoke was real thick, embers were flying everywhere and there were high winds. Just glad the 2 old folks escaped okay. They don’t know if the cabin went up in flames or not though.

  9. Babycatcher says:

    I can add a little to the update. There have been 4 confirmed deaths, but because the fire grew and spread so quickly, there was little warning. I was on the Ham radio when our weather alert went off and said evacuate immediately. We didn’t see anything, ( this was about 8 pm) so I asked the people on the radio what was going on. The main operator( later became a net control) said that part of the Walland fire we have been smelling for weeks had spread and the wind had gone up to 40-60 mph with gusts up to 80, and sparks had started fires near Gatlinburg. Within minutes there was a National Weather Alert and TEMA warning about immediate evacuation of Gatlinburg and all surrounding communities.( that’s a part of the county I don’t know very well). Most people have seen some of the harrowing videos of escapees. We were told that it was worse that what was being mentioned at the time. They will find more bodies, I am sure. I cannot believe the close calls some people had. I know some of those roads and I wouldn’t go up there during a bad thunderstorm, let alone a fire. May God be with the families who lost so much. We could see the glow from our front porch, 10 miles away.

  10. Chuck Findlay says:

    It would be a good post if someone with a bit of knowledge about being proactive on a homestead about how to prep your home to survive an event like this.

    I know Southern Pepper 1 has had a few talks about this on his channel. But being that it doesn’t apply to me I have not listened to his stuff. I should, but wild fires are just not an issue here.

    • Chuck Findlay,

      The post was not about preventing or protecting from wildfires but was an update for folks who have been asking about my area and my wellbeing… I posted a link in the post to an article with how to info.

    • Babycatcher says:

      Be glad Chuck. Unfortunately for too many years, greed has overtaken common sense here. “Cabins” that are all wood, 4 stories high, six bedrooms or more, and perched precariously on mountainsides have been built less than 50 feet apart from each other for decades. Many of them are as close as 20 feet apart! Building codes and zoning regulations either didn’t exist or were bought off or ignored. This is the result. It’s awful, but there’s a reason to live a little further out, away from the crowds. Schools are just opening up again today. But there’s a lot of homeless people now, and several businesses gone. It’s gonna take awhile to recover but this area is resourceful. We have been gathering supplies since we first heard, and waiting on word when to bring them.

  11. Good you are OK.
    I heard a page from the Bible was found in Dolly world.
    It said about the fields and trees burning and rivers drying up.
    Another Bible was found in a burned out car.

    Wow End of days is here.

  12. Thomas The Tinker says:

    Chuck Findlay: Went to MD’s Amazon link and found just about anything I could use in the way of ‘Home’ fire fighting equipment. the only issue any of this equipment has is … WATER … a pool, hot tube, cistern, creek or river would make these doable. The foam/gel systems would make this doable with a carboy load of water… city or well pump back up.

  13. Northernwolf says:

    Thanks for the update MD,one of the things I have thought about are routes to the nearest water like a lake or in this area the inland bays we have plenty of.and another idea is if you have time is to maybe bury important stuff where it can’t be burned

    • Ron Melchiore says:

      Northernwolf,

      Always a good idea to know where the nearest pond or lake is. In years past, we buried a metal trash can to safe guard our stuff. Cover the lid with a little dirt and I think things will be safe.

      • American pacrat says:

        After going through a major fire in 2004, the hot spots are not just above the ground. They are in the ground also, we had areas for weeks after the fire that it was to hot to walk across and smoke smolder from the rocks & soil.
        Why you are now wondering? It was the roots from the trees that were burnt out, remember how far they are down into the soil.
        This was in late summer and it took until December with rains before it was cool enough to walk across without locating a cool spot to stand. A few inches of soil will not protect a garbage can(metal), it would need to be deeper and at least 6 inches of soil on top just as a precaution.
        This is also based on the amount of trees in your area, if you are heavily wooded at least 6 inches of soil. If you are in an area, reference the ‘plains area’ about 3 inches might be sufficient. The ground soils do become hot from fires and it takes time for them to cool off. JMHO

        • Here in Florida, we often have what are called “marsh fires.” They get well underground and burn for a long time. They frequently require the rain from a tropical storm or hurricane to put out.

  14. He…not he.

  15. Chuck Findlay says:

    I would think the problem with a reserve of water is how to pressurize it. City water can loose pressure and a well pump needs power to run. A swimming pool needs a pump and electricity.

    It would be interesting to see how people have solved this problem.

    I plan on moving after my parents pass on (not going to abandon them when they need help the most) and will somewhat be dealing with the possibly of fire as I will be using a wood stove.

  16. I have heard the death toll in Gatlinburg, TN today had reached 7, and they are still searching. For those who have never been to Gatlinburg, or Pigeon Forge, both are surrounded by the Smokey Mountains Natl. Park, and It’s not easy to drive in either place on a good day. I can only imagine how difficult it was trying to evacuate with thick smoke, and bumper to bumper traffic. As a Prepper, one thing I learned from this is the need to take those back streets and side roads and know where they go. Never know when one of these little local roads can move you out of harms way.
    I wonder how close the fires came to your previous abode MD?

  17. sad to hear about the lives that were lost but truly hope there will not be anymore lost. wishing all the folks there the best and hope this terrible fire ends soon.
    take care

  18. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    I’m glad your residence is safe from fire damage and hope your good fortune continues. A lot of people were hurt in the blaze, escaping with only their lives and what they could carry. Prayers for their getting back up.

  19. Ron Melchiore says:

    You were on our minds MD. Thanks for the update and very glad you are OK. It really saddens me that we lost some people further South. The downpours should help a lot but hot spots can still remain. Everyone down there still needs to remain vigilant. Be safe!

  20. Allergic_Vegan says:

    What always bothered me was how in high fire zone areas, we don’t build fire proof homes. In high tornado areas or high earthquake areas, we don’t build homes that can outlast those issues either. We don’t use green roof technology where that is better. We don’t use water roofs where a pool of water is on top of the roof where that is the best way to go. I often thought of how I could take the worst, more restrictive living situation, and make it work just for kicks. But then I was forced to live in such a place. 😛

    Me rambling ramblers follows:
    And no, I do not live in a good house. It wouldn’t survive anything that hit it! Its a elcheepo townhome where prepping, animals and modified roofing asphalt is more the most part banned. Cats are allowed. Prepping has to be inside the home, not outside. If clever, you can get some outside prepping stuff if hidden well by plants in pots so that it does not accidentally look like a “veggie garden”.

    The walls are so thin that I can hear my neighbours. The home so small, that you really can not fit into it that much prepping. We do what we can, but its hardly sufficient. And now with my car diseased, and rusted out such that its not driveable, bugging out is impoossible. I won’t survive it without God divinely intervening. Oh well! I’m allergic to animals and poultry anyway. I’m not going to be able to hunt to kill to eat in the wild. Concerned? No. Depressed? Slightly. I LOVE camping. I love the freedom, the long walks, the breeze.

    The curtains are up, but if we take them down to clean them, we most likely won’t get them back up because the things that hold the curtains up, do not stay. The walls appear to lack studs of the kind that can hold things. Maybe metal studs? A stud finder laughed at me. It was a iOS app. lol I do have a solution for that issue, but haven’t implemented it yet. I was thinking of getting some industrial strength glue and gluing some lovely water-proof stained wood up to add character to the place and to nail the curtain rods on to. If you can’t get a proper stud in the wall, put it outside of the wall. lol

    As far as bugging out, I do have a bicycle, but have not made my “trailer” yet. My bicycle is old, used, but works. Nothing special about it. My tent needs replacing but I do have tarps. So, I’d still make it.

  21. Thanks for the article on fire protection a few days ago, I have been working a similar plan in my mind for some time but haven’t acted. (Bad idea)
    My brother was actively involved in fighting the walland fire and has some scary stories about it. A few days after it rained we went up to look things over and talked to the firefighters, they basically said you don’t put out a wildlife just try to contain it. But when the wind blows hard not much you can do but run.
    I have a pic of a stump still burning probably 3 feet down into the ground.

  22. I am glad you folks in TN, etc., are safe. Sorry to hear about property loss for anybody concerned. Firestorms and the resulting
    smoke are frightening and a health hazard. We empathize here in NE Washington state with all of you. We suffered a 250.000 acre
    wildfire summer before last. You are in our prayers. All you can
    do is build defensible space.

  23. riverrider says:

    we just had one nearby, 12k acres. too close for comfort. cleared leaves back from the house and deadfall, got out the sprinklers to soak the deck if needed. i’m not too worried since there are several big breaks in the forest between the fire and us. my fear is a careless hunter or arsonist dropping a spark in the valley behind me. prevailing wind, the fire will be at my door in minutes. i need to tighten up my game in this area. this is main reason i put a metal roof on my house. at some point i hope to switch out the vinyl for hardy board siding.

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