Forest fires trap firefighters, cause excessive smoke

CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (AP) – Ongoing wildfires in Tennessee are causing problems, trapping firefighters and filling the region’s air with smoke.

Media outlets report that seven firefighters were trapped Tuesday evening in a forest fire near Laurel Run Park, causing them to declare “Mayday.”

Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Murrell says all seven firefighters had been accounted for and none were injured. The civilian who reported the fire was taken to a hospital, and a state Forestry Division worker sustained a shoulder injury.

Also Tuesday, the state Department of Environment and Conservation issued a Code Red Air Quality Alert and the National Weather Service advised area residents to remain indoors to avoid excessive exposure to the smoke. The Red Alert said air quality is expected to improve Wednesday.