Knoxville/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 02, 2024
Townsend Brushfire Nearly Contained After Threatening Homes and Disrupting TravelSource: Google Street View

Townsend has been hit with a brushfire that's seriously gnawing at residents' peace of mind. Crews hit the ground hard on Monday afternoon, grappling with the stubborn blaze that threatened 10-15 homes and charred 30-50 acres, according to Townsend Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Stallions. With the terrain acting all kinds of difficult and winds that wouldn’t let up, Stallions told WVLT, “Very steep terrain and high winds, the fire moves fast and it’s very difficult to get in those areas and get water to them and fight.”

The fire also wreaked havoc on the roads, with Old Walland Highway temporarily closed between Walnut Loop and the Sunshine Bridge, as per the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. They advised people to dodge the area and find another way around. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Division of Forestry and at least four fire departments were throwing everything they had at the fire to get it contained, which, as night fell, they did - getting it 90% under control, saying no homes were under threat by 10 p.m., the chief, WVLT reports.

Earlier, as reported by WBIR, the struggle was real with up to 13 structures initially at risk and the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department hunkering down to protect two of those from the flames. The firefighting team included 23 people from the Tennessee Division of Forestry responding to the blaze.

The situation hasn’t been forgiving for travelers either. With the Maryville rekindled brush fire flaring up old fears, part of Old Walland Highway got the ax between Cameron Road and Lovers Lane, which sure didn’t make the commute any easier, according to a release from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office caught by WATE. And with Old Walland Highway taking a hit, forcing commuters onto detours, there's been more than just a little disruption in the daily hustle.