Wildfire burns thousands of acres on Cherokee land

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CHEROKEE (AP) ó Fire officials say a wildfire sparked by a downed power line has burned more than 3,000 acres in the North Carolina mountains.
Officials say the fire on the Cherokee Indian Reservation began Tuesday in the Big Cove Community. No buildings have been destroyed and no injuries have been reported. A resident said he saw 30-foot flames.
Crews from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians worked with crews from neighboring counties and the U.S. Forest Service to protect homes and push back the flames.
Ray Stamper of the Cherokee public safety department says heavy smoke made driving dangerous on some parts of the reservation.
Stamper says officials plan to let the fire burn itself out.