Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
The massive Cohutta Wilderness Fire . . . A dirty little secret that the news media is not telling you!
The United States Forest Service intentionally allowed the Cohutta Wilderness Fire to burn out of control!
As of today (updated 11/17/2016) the Rough Ridge Fire in the Cohutta National Wilderness Area of North-Central Georgia and Southeast Tennessee has consumed over 24,800 acres of pristine Appalachian forest land. It is now expected to completely devastate the entire wilderness area, during the next few weeks. Having begun on October 16, 2016, it is the largest of several dozen fires now burning in the Southern Appalachians. The Rock Mountain Fire in Northeast Georgia has now burned over 5,500 acres. The Boteler Fire in North Carolina has now burned over 14,000 acres, while the Tellico Fire in North Carolina has burned over 9,000 acres.
Smoke from these fires are producing a suffocating, noxious smog that is making life miserable for the people in Georgia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina and northeastern Alabama. The smoke is generally moving southward because of prevailing winds. On some days the plumes of smoke reach as far south as Florida.
Television and newspaper reporters are telling the public that although most of the big fires in the Southeast are burning out of control, thousands of firefighters and National Guardsmen are valiantly fighting all the fires. There is no doubt about the bravery of the firefighters and National Guardsmen, but the truth about how these fires got out of control is another matter. You will be astonished what is actually going on.
All federal and state government sources are stating that the Rough Ridge Fire in the Cohutta Wilderness Area was started by lightning on October 16, 2016 at around 3:00 PM. We have not had any significant rain here in the Georgia Mountains since early August. The skies have been blue most of the time for four months. How could a thunderstorm started a fire on that date? Apparently no reporters fact checked that statement.
I accessed the weather radar scan for the afternoon of October 16, 2016. The skies over the Cohutta Wilderness Area were clear all afternoon on the radar screen and there were no thunderstorms recorded by the National Weather Service that day. The editor of a newspaper in a nearby town told me on the phone that he did not observe any thunderstorms that day and that the sky was clear that afternoon.
A reader wrote us that she lived near Rough Ridge and stated that there was a brief storm that lasted about 15 minutes on the afternoon of October 16. I didn’t know that anyone lived near Rough Ridge, but who knows? Micro-weather can vary considerably in the Appalachians. Another reader immediately wrote us that the original forest fires in Georgia and North Carolina during mid-October were intentionally started by US Forest Service personnel. According to him the small control fires jumped their boundaries and quickly got out of control. Until crews were brought in from other parts of the country, the US Forest Service offices in western North Carolina and North Georgia lacked the manpower to fight them. They used the excuse of “letting Mother Nature do her thing” to cover up gross incompetence.
There is no doubt that hundreds of fires in the Southern Appalachians have been started by arsonists . . . domestic terrorists . . . in November 2016. On some days, the number of fires have overwhelmed the thousands of firefighters and National Guardsmen in the region now attacking the monster fires.
No matter who started the fire in the Cohutta Mountains, I was curious as to why the US Forest Service didn’t immediately put the fire out . . . knowing that the forests are so dangerously dry right now. In order to get background information on the Cohutta Wilderness Area, I looked it up in Wikipedia. Around November 14, 2016 a US Forest Service Public Relations Officer dutifully inserted the following paragraph in Wikipedia:
“The Rough Ridge wildfire began on October 16, 2016 with a lightning strike. Due to drought conditions the wildfire rapidly expanded to over 17,000 acres and is expected to engulf the entire wilderness. One of the current management objectives is to allow the fire to burn, fulfilling it’s natural ecological goal, with firefighters only intervening to save private property. The National Forest Service has blocked all traffic into the Cohutta Wilderness Area through January 1, 2017.”
Say what? The US Forest Service intentionally did not fight the forest fires in the Cohutta, Nantahala and Rabun National Wilderness Areas until they got so far out of control that they had to send in large fire-fighting units to prevent the fires from spreading to private property. The USFS fully intends to let the fires completely gut the national wilderness areas.
That’s why there was no publicity for three weeks
The people living outside the immediate areas of these massive fires, knew nothing about what was going on until the evening of November 6, 2016 when the People of One Fire published an article. Earlier in the day, I had driven up to the northern edge of Georgia to study some archaeological sites, when I noticed three huge plumes of smoke rising up from a mountain in North Carolina. I drove up to the top of Brasstown Bald Mountain in Georgia and was astonished to see a visage of Hell. Massive plumes of smoke were rising from throughout the Southern Highlands and yet no one in the regional or national media had mentioned the situation. Why?
Finally, by midweek, the Atlanta TV stations couldn’t ignore the smoke. When they publicized the devastation, the national media picked it up . . . but not one reporter asked, “Why did the US Forest Service allow the fires in the National Wilderness Areas in Georgia and North Carolina burn for weeks, until they were too large to control and were threatening homes?
To read the article in POOF, when I first became aware of the Appalachian forest fires, go to: FIRST VIEW OF FIRES
Now you know!
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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