Prestine Cherokee NF Touched by Multiple Fires | Railroad Grade 2016


Carter County, TN – Multiple fires have touched this  in one of Eastern Tennessee’s prime real estate playground since the beginning of this year with Halls Top Fire that occurred in March, along with Sciota Road and Starlight Fires also happening at the end of that same month.

Photo Courtesy:  Cherokee National Forest

Now, the Forest is facing yet another wildfire with Railroad Grade 2016 fire that was caused by human activity.  The exact cause is under investigation with no exact pinpoint of what the “human activity” actually was the root of the cause.

This fire started on April 18, 2016.  At that point, it was deemed a smaller fire but quickly tripled in size on the same day it ignited.  The fire was initially reported on April 18th as moderate to active fire activity with some growth potential.  It was spotting, wind-driven with up hill runs.


The fire is located off of Highway 25/70 at White Rocks Mountain and about 3 miles NW of Roan Mountain.  It is located 5 air miles from Hampton.


80 personnel are assigned to this incident.

Currently, on site there is a 20-person fire crew, 3 helicopters, 2 engines, 1 bulldozer, 2 water tenders and 1 overhead personnel.

Crews work to backfire off the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in order to increase containment of the Railroad Grade Fire

Photo Credit:  Cherokee National Forest

Incident Cooperators are from the U.S. Forest Service, TN Dept. of Forestry, Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Hampton and Roan Mountain VFD, TN Emergency of Management Agency, TN Dept. of Corrections and the TN Valley Authority.



The terrain is steep with rocky terrain.  It is host to snags and roll-overs.  Fire crews have had a difficult time hiking into and fighting fire in this area.

Smoke may pose future poor visibility as hazards to fire crews and to drivers in the area.  Hikers are asked to avoid the area altogether for safety concerns.


Fire crews will contain to construct fire lines and improve/hold existing lines.


The fire is currently holding at 1,727 acres and has a 75% containment status.  Fire behavior has been reduced to smoldering.

This is one of two wildfires currently burning in the Cherokee National Forest and we will update separately on the second fire named the Raccoon Mountain Fire in a separate post.


Current hashtags being used are:  #RailroadGrade2016 #TNWildifres2016


The Cherokee National Forest was established in 1920 and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  Located in Elizabethton of Carter County in Tenneessee.  Located in the Eastern portion of the State and bordering next door neighbor, North Carolina.

It consists of the Ocoee River, the location of the 1996 Olympics whitewater events that are inside the National Forest’s 655,598 acres.  The Forest is also host to 150 miles of the Appailachan National Scenic Trail system, along with hundreds more.

The Ocoee Whitewater Center from the 1996 Olympics.  Photo Courtesy:  WikiCreative Commons. Taken in 2009.

Vacationers flock to the infamous National park to backpack, fish, kayak, whitewater rafting, gold panning, rafting, camping and so many other fun activities. There are many beautiful waterfalls inside the National Forest, as well as hundreds of trail systems.

(c) 2016 The #NWFireBlog