Sand Valley, Seven Bark Lane fires worry residents



The Sand Valley fire, burning since Monday along U.S. 231 about a mile northwest but within the city limits of Oneonta, is 70 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, having burned an estimated 300 acres at that time, according to a release from the Oneonta Fire Department.

Though residents in the area continue to worry, fires on both sides of U.S. 231 northwest of Oneonta are being worked by the Oneonta Fire Department, along with other area departments, assisted by crews from the Alabama Forestry Commission. At one point Monday afternoon, more than 20 firefighters from Oneonta, Allgood, Susan Moore, and the Forestry Commission were battling the Sand Valley blaze.

Crews fought the fire Monday, continuing into Tuesday, while smoke from the fire blew southwest across U.S. 231, substantially reducing visibility along the highway from time to time. Residents as far west as Rosa were affected by the smoke and smell of the woods burning and were apprehensive about the approaching fire.

The bulk of the fire appeared to affect an area lying between Sand Valley Road and Whited Lake, burning out to the edge of U.S. 231 in several places.

Meanwhile, a second fire was burning only a mile or so away on the opposite side of U. S. 231, generally in the area along the Oneonta city limits lying between Patton Road and Seven Bark Lane southwest of U.S. 231. Oneonta Fire Chief Arthur Willis said Tuesday afternoon that the second fire had burned 70 to 80 acres and was about 50 percent contained.

“We’ve got containment around it on three sides. The fourth side is up on a ridge and we haven’t contained it there yet. “

He said residents may fear that no one is fighting the fire because it continues to burn, smoke, smell, and travel for however long it takes until it reaches the containment lines.