Latest from TEMA on Sevier County fires

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDEF) – TEMA updates the fire crisis in Sevier County in East Tennessee.

Overnight, thousands of residents and visitors were evacuates. 14,000 from Gatlinburg alone.

Hundreds of structures damaged and destroyed by the fires.

Also hundreds of firefighters and emergency personnel are responding.

Residents are updating their status now through the Red Cross website and on Facebook’s Safety Check

Extremely high winds (some registering 70mph) whipped the flames from The Chimney Top Fire into the valley communities without much warning.

Rain is now falling on the area, but TEMA reports that fires continue to burn.

They say there is “little hope that the rainfall will bring immediate relief.”

Early damage estimates found hundreds of structures lost.

Westgate Resorts, including more than 100 buildings is likely entirely gone.

Black Bear Falls has lost all of their cabins.

Highway 441 into Gatlinburg is closed, outbound traffic is open.

So far, TEMA has reports 3 people have suffered severe burns plus a fourth suffered burns to their face.

There are no fatalities reported so far.

More than 11,000 people are without power and both landline and cell phone coverage is out or limited.

Governor Haslam issued this statement Tuesday morning.

“The state is proving a coordinated response, including the National Guard, to help all those affected by the devastating wildfires burning in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. TEMA encourages residents in Sevier County to stay off mobile devices, unless it is an emergency, to prevent outage.”

Categories: Regional News

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