All posts by Stephanie Lancaster

Sevier County, TN Wildfire

 Tuck Mapping recently donated 3 inch orthophotography to Sevier County to aid in the relief efforts after the wildfires from November 2016 burned over 17,000 acres in less than five days.

On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, the acre-and-a-half blaze began near the top of a steep hill called Chimney Tops outside of Gatlinburg, TN. It was treated using forest-firefighting techniques that, partially because of safety concerned in the rugged terrain, involved organizing a break-line perimeter around 400 acres. The fire occurred after the deciduous trees had shed their leaves adding more fuel to the forest floor that was already abundant with desiccated leaves, twigs, dead branches, and logs that had been sucked dry of their moisture by the months of drought. The leafless trees allowed more sunlight to hit the fuel, drying it out even more.

Sunday, four days after the fire started, was the first time that any firefighting aircraft were used on the fire. However, the aircraft dropping water and fire retardant on a fire could not put it out. Under ideal conditions they can temporarily slow the spread, which may be effective if firefighters on the ground can move in quickly to take advantage of the short-term change in fire behavior by constructing fire breaks, stopping the spread at that location. In this case, there were no firefighters in a position to take direct action. The fire expanded only slightly to about 6 acres through November 27th.

On November 28th, humidity levels dropped to 10% with wind gusts up to 87 mph. Over the next three days, sustained winds of 40mph were recorded across the area. Wind gusts carried burning embers long distances causing new spot fires to ignite across the area. In addition, high winds caused numerous trees to fall throughout the evening on Monday bringing down power lines across the area that ignited additional new fires that spread rapidly due to sustained winds of over 40 mph.

Power went out for thousands of customers in Sevier County. Live wires are at least part of the reason the Chimney Top Fire spread so rapidly overnight. The Gatlinburg Fire Chief said “These are the worst possible conditions imaginable.” Of course, high winds and downed power lines don’t usually spark such devastating wildfires. The key ingredient in eastern Tennessee was the ongoing, severe drought. All of Sevier County is in an “exceptional drought,” which is the worst on the U.S. Drought Monitor Scale. It means there are widespread crop and pasture losses, shortages in water reservoirs, streams and wells. In short, eastern Tennessee has turned into a tinderbox. The fire spread from 80 acres to 17,000 acres before it showed any signs of slowing down.

Unfortunately, 14 people passed away as a result of the fire. 2,460 structures were damaged or destroyed and there was an estimated 842 million dollars’ worth of damage.

To assist in the relief efforts, Tuck Mapping donated 3 inch aerial orthophotography of the entire affected area to Sevier County. The County will use this data for: planimetric mapping of structures, identification of structure status, emergency response plans, emergency warning system plans, update of structure rebuilds for GIS, projection of revenues from property taxes, building permit updates, routing for building supplies, and future zoning of development areas.

Bobby Tuck Participates in National Reading Week

reading class

Bobby Tuck had the privilege to read to a group of second graders at Powell Valley Primary School in Big Stone Gap, VA.  This is National Reading Week and each year the school invites business leaders, professors, and town and state officials to read books to the students.  This year he read the Dr. Seuss book “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket!” and “I Wanna Iguana” by Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow. The class of about fifteen second graders were a lot of fun to read to and he got a lot of enjoyment out of participating with the students and explaining to them why they needed to read.  As one student told him after Bobby asked why they should learn to read, he said,  “So I can become smarter.”  Bobby commented, “I hope that the students enjoyed the class half as much as I did.  I commend the school for the annual participation in this great program.”

Tuck Mapping Welcomes Lily Kate

We would like to congratulate Justin and Tishia Bentley on the birth of their first born daughter, Lily Kate.  Lily Kate was born on February 26, 2015, at the Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Kentucky.  She weighed seven pounds, fifteen ounces and was twenty and one-half inches long.

Justin has been an employee of Tuck Mapping for the past six years.  He is one of our LiDAR technicians who acquire LiDAR data then prepares the post processing of the data.  Justin is a graduate of Mountain Empire Community College and lives in Wise, Virginia.  He and Tishia are active members of the Zion Family Ministry Church in Wise, Virginia.

lily kate

Tuck Mapping Celebrates 30 years

Tuck Mapping Solutions has completed 30 years of service as of December 31, 2014.  The firm was started by Bobby and Phyllis Tuck on January 1, 1985, to provide engineering services to the coal industry.  Our service began expanding into other areas of engineering. In 1986 we expanded into aerial mapping.  We want to thank our loyal clients for the support and encouragement they have given us over the years.  Our client’s confidence in our ability to service them has provided momentum to launch into new areas of service.  We have strived to remain on the leading edge of technology providing our staff the tools to deliver the ultimate in service.

Our staff has developed a reputation of high accuracy in mapping.  We want the industry to think of Tuck Mapping when they need the accuracy that others cannot provide.  We have a group of very hard working employees who take extreme pride in the product they produce.  Thirty percent of our employees have tenure of over 20 years at Tuck Mapping.

Clara Wiggins

We would like to congratulate Clara Wiggins on her retirement from Tuck Mapping Solutions.  Clara has worked for Tuck Mapping for nearly sixteen years and has served our firm in an exemplary manner.  Clara has recently become a new grandmother and wanted to retire to help care for the new baby.  Clara will be missed by all of our employees and clients.  She was a constant supporter of our staff. We would say that her prayers to God were a local call when the rest of us had to make long distance calls.  She had a constant concern for the well-being of each and every employee.

It is interesting to note that Clara’s first job was my father’s secretary while she was in high school.  When she came to work for me, she told me that her first job was with my father and her last would be with me.  She has been a family friend and a very loyal employee for many years.