The Sierra Front Incident Management Team transitioned with the Southern Area Blue Team on Monday, Nov. 14 and took command of the Eastern Cherokee Complex Fire at 8am on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 16. As of Tuesday morning, there are 15 fires being managed involving 755 acres. A total of 132 personnel are working on the fires which are 75 percent contained. To date, no structures have been lost and the estimated date of containment is unknown.
Operations on Nov. 16 will continue to focus on holding all fire line, and mopping up areas that have already burned. Crews will focus on snags that have burned and dropping those trees that threaten the line or safety of firefighters.
High winds and warm daytime temperatures along with drought conditions continue to make it difficult to extinguish the fires. There is little or no chance for rain the next five days. Wind gusts are expected on the ridgelines, which will create extreme fire behavior on the steep slopes.
Firefighter and Public Safety remain our primary concern. Local residents are reminded to stay indoors if they have respiratory problems as air quality is still fair to poor.
All fires currently burning are under investigation by local law enforcement. Thirty four fires have burned within the Qualla Boundary since October. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking information regarding arson fires on Indian Lands through the WeTip Program. Up to $10,000 is being offered through this anonymous program. WeTip can be contacted through their website: www.wetip.com or by calling their hotline at 1-800-47-ARSON.
– The Sierra Front Incident Management Team