On 19 July 2002, the Howard/White Unit No. 1 oil well was being drilled to test for commercial oil production from the geologic formation called the Nashville Group in northeastern Tennessee. The oil well is located in Morgan County on High Point Road, accessible via State Road 62. After drilling to a certain depth, oil flow occurred. The pressure of the flow increased and began to spill oil around the well and outside of the containment area at an estimated 200-500 barrels per hour. At approximately 2400 hours, the oil well caught fire. The spilled oil had flowed downhill from the wellhead into White Creek, at approximately 0.21 mi above its confluence with Clear Creek, and into Clear Creek, at approximately 0.37 mi above Barnett Bridge. The fire followed both oiled paths, burning the vegetation and the oil-soaked soils. Some of the large boulders on the slope fractured from the heat of the fire. The oil adjacent to the banks in both creeks caught fire as well.