Flipper Bend fire forcing families to leave their homes
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
The fire on Mowbray Mountain is not as big as the one crews are calling the Flipper Bend fire.
At last check, the Flipper Bend Fire is now at 800 acres and growing.
At that fire, there's some confusion as to if these residents are being forced to evacuate or just encouraged to leave their homes.
According to FEMA, 15-20 homes on Little Bend Road in the Boston Branch neighborhood are under a mandatory evacuation order.
Kim Johnson and her family were asked to leave their home Wednesday night.
"We had about an hour," Johnson said.
Less than 60 minutes, for the Johnson family to take their precious memories and belongings and load them up in the back of their cars.
"Anything I could get my hands on at the time and just mainly pictures. That's the one I feel like isn't replaceable," Johnson said.
Wednesday night the Johnson's stayed in a hotel.
Thursday, they'll do the same thing. They don't plan on coming back home until they're told it's safe.
"We are praying for rain and praying for the firefighters," Johnson said.
Her son Cole says the smoke in their home is what's been the hardest for him to deal with.
"I think I had a little bit of an allergic reaction to it. It was just stinging my eyes really bad and I was coughing last night cause the smoke was worse than it's been," he said.
Smoke also fills the sky outside of homes on Walden's Ridge.
For those people living in this Boston Branch neighborhood, not being asked to evacuate yet - they're doing everything they can to prep their homes in case the fire spreads.
Cliff Kent is the President of the Boston Branch Homeowner's association.
"The smoke has been and out of the subdivision as the wind changes so the more the wind changes our way the more smoke we get," Kent said.
He's lived in the neighborhood since 2007. From his home, he can see the smoke.
So, he's been doing what he can to prepare his house in case the fires get worse.
"Turned off the AC. Not running the heater or the fans or anything. Just keeping the windows closed so you really don't notice it or smell it at all until you walk outside," he said.
Johnson says the Red Cross will be helping them out with the hotel costs.