GATLINBURG (WATE) – Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) estimates more than 14,000 residents and visitors evacuated.
A temporary flight restriction has been placed over the area to help first responders. TEMA believes Westgate Resorts is mostly gone, with more than 100 buildings destroyed. Black Bear Falls has lost almost every cabin.
TEMA said the 16-story hotel is on Regan Drive. They also said Driftwood Apartments are reportedly fully-involved near the Park Vista Hotel.
The fire comes after strong winds caused a wildfire on Chimney Top Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to spread rapidly onto private property in the city of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Evacuations are underway for Downtown Gatlinburg, Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mountain in Gatlinburg, and for the south part of Pigeon Forge close to Sevierville. A wildfire is also at the edge of Dollywood property.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is allowing federal funds to reimburse the cost of fighting the fire. Seventy-five percent of the costs will be reimbursed.
“We will continue to work closely with state and local responders who are on the frontlines of this fire fight,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia B. Szczech. “FEMA approved these funds to ensure they have every available resource.”
The grant was requested Monday night at 11 p.m. Federal funds are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund.