[ View the story "Wildfires ravage Tennessee: 5 things to know" on Storify] Wildfires ravage Tennessee: 5 things to know
CMGNationalNews· Tue, Nov 29 2016 19:37:58 1. Thousands of residents and visitors have been evacuated from Sevier County as authorities continue to battle the wildfires.
Emergency officials estimated that more than 14,000 people were evacuated from the city of Gatlinburg alone. Gatlinburg is just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is a popular stop for visitors seeking to explore the mountains.
Roads into the city were closed to all but emergency vehicles Tuesday.
Nearly 12,000 people were without power in Sevier County.
Troopers walked into areas of Gatlinburg, Tn that were surrounded by fire to remove those who were trapped by flames. https://t.co/9r2lkAVy19TN Highway Patrol
2. Many popular tourist attractions were threatened or destroyed by the flames, including Dollywood, the Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
In a news release Tuesday morning, Dollywood employees said the park itself remained untouched by flames, but a dozen cabins operated by the park were damaged or destroyed. Park operations have been suspended, although the DreamMore Resort will be open to those in need and for registered guests. Guests staying in 50 rooms at DreamMore and 19 cabins operated by Dollywood were evacuated Monday night.
Employees closed Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies as the fire approached. The aquarium is home to more than 10,500 animals. Employees said on Tuesday afternoon that a team of marine biologists and life support experts were inside the aquarium and said the animals are safe.
The family that runs the Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg, a haunted house attraction that has been in business for 36 years, took to Facebook to say they were “devastated” after learning that the house was lost to the Gatlinburg fires.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and all those affected.Dollywood
Our team of Marine Biologists and Life Support Experts inside the Aquarium are happy to report the animals are safe. https://t.co/jSxG8tP1nTRipley's Aquarium TN
We are devastated to announce that it... - Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg | FacebookWe are devastated to announce that it was confirmed to us that Mysterious Mansion was lost to the Gatlinburg wildfires. We will let you know more when we...
3. The fires were exacerbated by heavy winds and dry conditions Monday. The winds, including gusts upwards of 80 mph, combined with low relative humidity and whipped up fires in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials said. The Chimney Top Fire, which is threatening Gatlinburg, originated in the mountains.
Gusts carried burning embers over long distances and sparked new fires in the park’s north-central area and in Gatlinburg, park officials said. Trees felled by the winds brought down power lines and further fed the flames.
Gatlinburg Area Fire Update Sevier... - Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Facebookfacebook
Officials with the National Weather Service expect some rain to fall over the area starting after 1 p.m. Tuesday, although emergency officials expect it will have little impact on the wildfires.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials ...Great Smoky Mountains National Park
4. Hundreds of firefighters and state and local officials responded to the fires. Helicopters flew over the Chimney Top Fire on Sunday, attempting to douse the blaze with water drops without success.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol have gone door-to-door to inform residents about evacuations. Crews with the state’s Department of Transportation have been working continuously to help clear paths for emergency responders. The state’s National Guard has activated more than 100 soldiers to assist.
As the Gatlinburg, Tn fires rage on many trees have fallen blocking roads. Troopers used personal chainsaws to clear those trees. https://t.co/tcnY1DulGzTN Highway Patrol
5. Tennessee has been under a state of emergency since Nov. 10 due to a drought and wildfires, according to the state emergency management agency. At the time, more than half of the state’s water systems were impacted by the drought. Three counties were so hard hit that their wells dried up.
At the time, 53 fires burned across 9,680 acres of the state. Emergency officials warned that forecasts didn’t appear to show any significant rainfall through the end of the year.