Mandatory evacuations ordered as fire spreads near Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg wild fire/MG Share
Gatlinburg wild fire/MG Share

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Emergency officials in Tennessee say a wildfire has set 30 structures ablaze in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel, and is at the edge of the Dollywood theme park.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says in a news release Monday night that mandatory evacuations were underway for areas in and around Gatlinburg, including the south part of Pigeon Forge, where Dolly Parton’s theme park is.

Flener says strong afternoon winds fanned the wildfire on land in the great Smoky Mountains National Park to move quickly onto private property.

TEMA says no deaths have been reported.

Officials say several areas are being evacuated because of fires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

Gatlinburg police had been going door to door in one neighborhood asking for voluntary evacuations. But the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that as wind picked up and fallen trees sparked fires from downed lines, Gatlinburg fire officials declared a mandatory evacuation of a larger area.

The newspaper said some park employees were also evacuating and some locations closed.

A news release from the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce said the National Park Service reported more fire growth expected in the park with spot fires possibly forming outside the main area.

 

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