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UPDATE: Gatlinburg Burns in Chimney Top Fire

29 Nov 2016, 7:25 am

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WZTV)- The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has released new information on a raging Sevier County wildfire.  TEMA says hundreds of structures have been lost in Sevier County. More than 14,000 residents and tourists had to be evacuated. There are no reports of fatalities, but at least four people are being treated for burn injuries.

The ongoing southeast drought prompted a Level III State of Emergency back on November 10. The Chimney Top fire started on November 23 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong, erratic winds Monday caused the fire to grow out of control. It is now burning at least 500 acres.

TEMA says it has worked with FEMA to secure a Fire Management Assistance Grant for the Chimney Top Mountain Fire, which is the cause of tonight’s wildfire in Sevier County. Sevier County wildfires have prompted evacuations in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other areas.

The National Guard is being deployed to help efforts. Evacuations are underway in downtown Gatlinburg, Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mounty in Gatlinburg. Pigeon Forge’s mayor also issued a mandatory evacuation Monday night for people in the area between The Spur and Traffic Light Number 8.

The wildfire is also at the edge of the Dollywood property, TEMA reported. WBIR reported Dollywood DreamMore Resort is being evacuated due to the fire. The station also reports that so far, no structures have been damaged and crews are on-site to protect the structures.

Preliminary surveys suggest that Westgate Resorts is likely entirely gone (more than 100 buildings) and Black Bear Falls has likely lost every single cabin. Nearly 12,000 customers were without power Tuesday morning.

A command center has been established at Gatlinburg City Hall. TEMA officials are asking people to stay off their mobile devices unless it’s for emergency calls, to prevent taxing the mobile system.

Of the structures impacted,  a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive, and the Driftwood Apartments reported a fully-involved blaze near the Park Vista Hotel. Several county schools are closed Tuesday due to the fires.

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