Friday, November 03, 2000

Ky. fires spread smoky haze here

By Roger Alford
The Associated Press

        WHITLEY CITY, Ky. — The smell of smoke wafting over Fort Mitchell, Anderson Township and Hyde Park is from forest fires in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

        The fires are so intense that school was canceled, motorists were driving with their lights on and the National Guard was dumping water from helicopters.

        The blazes are charring about 10,000 acres of forest a day. In the southernmost counties, the fires are burning higher because of downed trees and branches damaged in a series of storms in 1998.

        The Forest Service and the Kentucky National Guard were using helicopters to dump water on fires that posed the most danger to homes. The Division of Forestry had reports of 53 fires in 25 counties. Hundreds of volunteers and paid firefighters are on the ground.

        In east Tennessee, more than 4,300 acres were lost Wednesday in 91 fires, and state forestry officials were still tabulating Thursday's losses late in the day.

        “It's worse today, much worse,” state forester Dwight Barnett said.

        A fire that began Monday in Pickett State Forest reached the Big South Fork National Recreational Area on Thursday. A new hot spot sprang up in Sevier County, several miles east of the Dollywood theme park. Mr. Barnett said Dollywood was not in danger, but many large new homes built in that area in recent years could be affected.


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