East Tennessee fires cause thick haze, unhealthy air quality


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – People around East Tennessee are reporting extremely smoky and hazy conditions that have led to an Air Quality Alert being issued. State forestry officials say there is not much wind and smoke from various brush fires burning across the area is settling in the valley.

As of Sunday, a total of 96 fires were burning in Tennessee. In East Tennessee, three were reported in Anderson County, one in Blount County, 17 in Campbell County, three in Claiborne County, one in Cocke County, seven in Cumberland County, two in Fentress County, two in Grainger County, one in Greene County, one in Hancock County, three in Knox County, one in McMinn County, three in Monroe County, three in Morgan County, two in Scott County and two in Sevier County.

Wildfires, November 7, 2016
Wildfires, November 7, 2016

The Hamblen County sheriff says a 1,400 acre fire in Campbell County is causing a lot of the smoke in that part of the area.

WATE 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Ken Weathers says air quality is in the “unhealthy” category due to the smoke. An Air Quality Alert has been issued through Tuesday.

A large number of the fires are suspected arson, East Tennessee Assistant District Forester Nathan Waters said, including a large one burning in Anderson County near Rosedale School.

Viewers reported hazy conditions all around the area, including Knox, Jefferson and Sevier counties. Year to date, 1,096 fires have burned in Tennessee for a total of 27,821 acres. Burn bans are in effect in a number of counties.

Related: More burn bans issued in East Tennessee counties

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Division of Forestry reports 38 active fires through the state. Five are in Harlan County.

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