LEEDS, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: Fire departments have completely contained 140 acres, but they are not controlled. The fire could be burning for up to a week.
ORIGINAL: The Alabama Forestry Commision says a wildfire in the Leeds/Moody area has burned over 110 acres and affected homes and businesses in the area.
The fire is located on the westbound side of I-20 between exits 140 and 144. Traffic is backed up for miles because of poor visibility from thick smoke.
A fire official says the fire is extremely close to homes and businesses. No damage to structures has been reported yet but the smoke is a problem. Crews are working to keep the fire away from residences, and at least 30 houses and 15 businesses are threatened at this time, as the fire is bordering I-20, a subdivision and a shopping center.
People are encouraged to stay out of the area, but there are no mandatory evacuations at this time. The blaze is 100 percent contained, but according to authorities is “far from being controlled.”
Smoke is showing from areas of at least 5 miles away.The National Weather Service reports the plume is registering on their radar.
Both Moody and Leeds fire departments are battling the fire.
Derrick Heckman with the forestry commision says they think the fire was caused by something on I-20, possibly a busted tire or dragging metal.
The fire will continue to actively burn within the containment lines for several days, and minor structural damage, such as melting siding, has been seen on buildings.
There will be smoke in the area for several days.
There is also a fire in Shelby County at Grey Oaks Road and Highway 336 in Pelham, and a fire in Adamsville in Jefferson County that has burned 50-60 acres. Crews from Walker County are en route to the Adamsville fire.