Park spokesman: Polk County wildfire 'uncommon'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A spokesman for the Cherokee National Forest says a wildfire that has closed a road and hiking trails in the park is unusual for this time of the year.

Terry McDonald told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Monday that the Polk County wildfire was first reported on Friday. He said officials believe it was sparked when high winds from an area storm on Thursday blew trees into power lines.

McDonald said Forest Service Road 77 has been closed, as well as about 25 miles of trails in the Chilhowee Recreation Area. Officials expect the fire to burn over about 1,600 acres before it is contained.

McDonald says it's uncommon to have a fire that size during the summer. He says the normal fire season for the area is in the spring and fall.


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