Gatlinburg Fires

GATLINBURG – On Monday, November 28, wildfires raged in the surrounding areas of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, affecting thousands of people. Many homes, businesses, and resorts in this tourist town were destroyed.

This town is located  in the Great Smoky Mountains.  At this time, the region is in the middle of its worst drought in years, resulting in trees and other plants being extremely dry, providing perfect fuel for a massive fire.

Also, it is extremely windy in Gatlinburg, with gusts reaching up to 70 mph. Not only did the wind spread the fire, but it also did damage of its own, knocking down power lines, which then started new fires.

Three people were killed and over 4,000 people were forced to evacuate. Sadly, most of the residents will return to their homes and businesses to find them completely burned down.

The firefighters are doing their best to contain the fires, but the fire is so huge and over such a large area that there is only so much that they can do. Gatlinburg’s Fire Chief, Greg Miller, released a statement, one reinforcing the severity of the situation.

“If you’re a person of prayer, we could use your prayers.”

Most of the resorts near the town weren’t largely affected, such at Ober Gatlinburg, a ski resort and amusement park. Also, Ripley’s Aquarium, which has about 1,500 animals, is said to be standing, despite the fact that there are fires all around it.

The good news is lots of rain is coming and will be very helpful with putting out the fire. On the other hand, with the rain there is going to be powerful winds, which could potentially spread the fire even more.

Hopefully the fires will soon fade away and the people can start rebuilding all that was lost.