Tennessee forest fires burning on 6,300 acres; crews using helicopters to put out flames

Tuesday, November 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) _ Gusty wind and extremely dry weather fueled a 6,300-acre forest fire in Tennessee, and forecasters offered little hope that rain would bring quick relief.

The National Weather Service said the earliest chance of possible showers was Friday.

``For now, the weather outlook is pretty grim, and the only thing saving us is that the wind isn't blowing as hard as it was,'' said Dwight Barnett, staff forester with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which is blamed on arsonists.

Forestry officials used helicopters and a bomber Monday to drop water and fire retardant on the flames.

``It has been a pretty breezy day,'' forestry division spokesman Robert Rhinehart said. ``Low humidity, lack of rainfall, frost drying the leaves out. It just adds together to a really bad burning condition.''

He said crews are trying to put out 23 fires on the estimated 6,300 acres.