Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tennessee wildfires threaten resort towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge


At USA TODAY by Travis Dorman and Steve Ahillen, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel

Motorists fleeing wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge packed roads in and out of the resort towns Monday night as flames and choking smoke driven by wind swept across the area.
The Gatlinburg Fire Department ordered the mandatory evacuation of downtown Gatlinburg as wind conditions worsened and several fires grew increasingly unpredictable and dangerous.
As fires threaten homes and businesses in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the area's largest theme park was watching the situation closely.

As fires threaten homes and businesses in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the area's largest theme park was watching the situation closely.

Pete Owens, spokesperson for Dollywood, said late Monday that no structures inside the park had been damaged. Fire crews in the park were standing by if needed to protect the buildings.

Owens said the fire has reached the Upper Middle Creek ridge near the park, and staff evacuated 19 occupied cabins in the park's cabin resort area. In addition, they evacuated guests from 50 rooms in Dollywood's DreamMore Resort.

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