Update on Wildfire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 12/02/16
The intensity of Gatlinburg fires came dangerously close to those who got out narrowly escaping with their lives. The video above shows one mans heroic narrow escape driving down the road with the flames just feet away. The fire started on November 28, 2016. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters of Gatlinburg raised the death toll to 13, including a person who appeared to die of a heart attack while fleeing the flames. Number of buildings damaged were 1,000. People were finally let in the areas to go to their homes and assess the damage.
“The trouble began Monday when a wildfire, likely caused by a person, spread from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into the Gatlinburg area as hurricane-force winds toppled trees and power lines, blowing embers in all directions.”
“We had trees going down everywhere, power lines, all those power lines were just like lighting a match because of the extreme drought conditions. So we went from nothing to over 20-plus structure fires in a matter of minutes. And that grew and that grew and that grew,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said.”
“More than 14,000 residents and visitors in Gatlinburg were forced to evacuate, and the typically bustling tourist city has been shuttered ever since.”
“Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash has said the fires were “likely to be human-caused” but he has refused to elaborate, saying only that the investigation continues. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping investigate the cause.”
First article on Tuesday November 29, 2016
Breaking News Update on Wildfire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 11/29/16
Just four hours ago at 5:00 am Eastern time, there was a mandatory emergency evacuation for the people in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The evacuation was executed as quickly as possible because the smoke and fire was dangerously close for the people in that area this morning.
Strong winds and the Southeast’s worst drought in nearly a decade fueled the fires. At least 14 wildfires burned in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, forcing mandatory evacuations from the popular tourist destination and nearby communities.
Fire Chief Greg Miller said Monday evening as crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph.
“At least 30 structures were on fire in Gatlinburg over Monday night, according to WVLT, the CBS station in Knoxville. Mandatory evacuations were ordered and the National Guard was mobilized to Sevier County.”
“Dolly Parton’s Dollywood resort in Pigeon Forge was also evacuated, although the fire had not yet reached the property, the station reported.”
“We were just told by the Gatlinburg Fire Department that they had told everybody in Gatlinburg to get out,” Judy Tucker, director of Sevier County’s E-911 call center, told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “… No one’s getting through to anyone. Phones are ringing and not being answered anywhere. It’s chaos.”
Certainly, we are all praying that everyone and their pets left as quickly as possible, where there was real danger to their lives due to the smoke and fire spreading.