Oneonta wildfire jumps containment lines, approaching homes

ONEONTA, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE NOV. 8, 2016: The Alabama Forestry Commision is still working the wildfire that has destroyed 200-400 acres.

They have begun to put containment lines around homes that are at risk.

On the opposite side of Ebell Mountain, Colleen tells us about 100 acres have been damaged in a separate wildfire in the old mining community. Six abandoned homes covered in kudzu were destroyed this morning.

UPDATE NOV. 7, 10:30 PM: The fire has spread to an old abandoned mining community. Six abandoned houses that were overgrown with kudzu were lost.

Approximately 200-400 acres have burned.

fire-1 fire-2

ORIGINAL: Shortly before 6:45 p.m., the wildfire between Ebell Mountain and Heritage Golf Course in the Oneonta area jumped containment lines and is now approaching homes.

James Studdard’s back yard is on fire. He lives on Wheezy Way, and says that while he’s been watching the land around his home burn all day, things were at their worst Monday night.

“We’ve just been watching it burn. They’ve tried to put it out three times, but it just keeps coming right back. So now, we’re just trying to keep everything contained,” Studdard said.

Studdard said he isn’t too worried because the containment line near his property has held up so far, and firefighters from multiple departments plan to keep a close eye on Studdard’s neighborhood throughout the night.

Chief Arthur Willis of the Oneonta Fire Department said the fire is burning deep in the woods, where it’s too dangerous to battle a blaze after dark.

“In this area we have a lot of rattle snakes, a lot of copperheads, a lot of animals in the woods that you don’t normally see in other areas because we are a rural county, so we have to be careful,” Willis said, adding that the terrain is also making things difficult.

“The area here where the fire has jumped the lines — there’s large bluffs, a lot of drop-offs, there’s valleys and ridges that dozers are having a tough time getting to.”

Willis said firefighters will start attacking the fire again when the sun comes up Tuesday.

ORIGINAL: Crews are battling an uncontained wildfire in the Oneonta area between Heritage golf course and the base of Ebell Mountain.

The fire started sometime Monday morning around 8 a.m. The fire department responded and requested help. By 9:14 a.m., it had consumed 38 acres.

As of 4:30, the fire has spread to 200 acres and is 85 percent contained. There are two people and one tractor from the Alabama Forestry Commision on the scene assisting the fire department.

10 homes are threatened, the Oneonta fire chief says.

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