Area wildfires getting closer to containment

Flipper Bend Fire Contained. (WTVC)

For weeks, a smoky haze hung over downtown Chattanooga and the surrounding area. Growing wildfires threatened homes, livelihoods and health.

Sunday marked a new chapter in the fight against the three fires raging in Hamilton County. Anthony Petellat, Incident Commander with the Florida Forest Service, told NewsChannel 9 "the Flipper Bend Fire is 100% contained, the Poe Road Fire is 95% contained, and the Mowbray Mountain is 90% contained." Blue skies and sunshine supported those figures.

The five percent increase in containment came as a surprise after a 24 hour period of 15-25 mile per hour wind gusts. "We were a little nervous about the impending weather," said Julie Allen of the Florida Forest Service. The hardworking fire crews from various counties and states proved that their hard work wouldn't be threatened by the elements. The Florida Forest Service told us that the increased containment was due to the strength of the control lines crews have spent weeks building.

The Florida Forest Service is an incident management team that travels the region fighting wildfires on fourteen day assignments, sixteen if you include two travel days. With its deadline quickly approaching, the team had a difficult decision to make; whether to extend its assignment or go home just in time for the holidays.

As a team we made the decision that there shouldn't be two teams away from their families on thanksgiving so we decided to stay through the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Once its assignment is complete, the team will hand the reigns over to a new incident management team that will be in charge of controlling these now contained wildfires.

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