Resort towns in Tennessee are being burnt to a crisp with a spreading wildfire. The images and videos that are coming through are quite shocking. Keep these people in your prayers.
Spreading Tennessee wildfires in the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have forced more than 14,000 people to evacuate as officials say the blaze has caused the area to resemble the ‘apocalypse.’
Thousands of residents and visitors in the Gatlinburg area were evacuated from the Great Smoky Mountains, and hundreds of structures have been damaged and destroyed by the fire which is the worse to hit the area in decades as of Tuesday morning.
‘The center of Gatlinburg looks good for now,’ Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Tuesday. ‘It’s the apocalypse on both sides (of downtown).’
The mayor of Gatlinburg said Tuesday that half of the city was impacted by the blaze, but the downtown area is intact and that they will rebuild the city.
Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller says 12 people have been injured in the wildfires in the Gatlinburg area, most with non-life-threatening injuries.
Three people who suffered burns while trying to flee have been transferred from a Knoxville hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, which has a burn unit. A fourth person is being treated for facial burns in Knoxville. There have been no missing people or deaths reported associated with the fire.
Miller said the fire spread Monday night by winds that at times exceeded 87 miles per hour.
‘This is one for the history books,’ Miller said at a morning news conference. ‘The likes of this has never been seen. But the worst is definitely over with.’
He added that about 14 buildings remain ablaze in the city, as most of them are smoldering. Firefighters are going door to door in the city to make sure no one has been overlooked.
Officials say about 14,000 residents and visitors were evacuated from Gatlinburg alone, and portions of Dollywood have been evacuated as wind speeds top 70 miles per hour in some parts of Tennessee, which has been hit by the worst drought in nearly a decade.
More than a dozen cabins operated by the park have been damaged or destroyed in the blaze. Resort staff evacuated families staying in 50 rooms at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and in 19 of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins.