One of the most beautiful places in the south east has been undergoing a horrendous outbreak of wild fires, which started Monday afternoon, November 28th. It has struck right in the middle of Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which is one of the highest tourist locations in the South. The spread of the fire was due to the 87 MPH winds, which scattered embers across the entire surrounding area, while the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, though there are speculated reports that it was ‘man-made’. The wind also knocked down power lines, and drought strucken trees, causing new fires to spark.
“It was like a perfect storm,” Cassus Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, said.
So far, three people have lost their lives in the fire outbreak. We hope that the body count doesn’t rise as the situation gets under control. “It is absolutely devastating,” said Mark Nagi of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Just like the West Coast forest fires, this one is hard to get under control, especially when high winds & storms help it speed up the process of spreading.
Many structures have been completely ruined, such as Gatlinburg’s Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa, the Alamo Steakhouse, Myterious Mansion of Gatlinburg, & even the Mountain Lodge.
Other structures were close to the fire, but no damage has been reported at this time, such as Dollywood, Arrowmont, Black Bear Fall, and the Chapel at the Park.
One structure that has me concerned, is Ripley’s Aquarium. Staff had to evacuate for safety precautions, leaving the marine animals behind. I’m very glad everyone got out safely. but I am not too pleased about the animals being left behind. I am sure they would be safe, since they’re surrounded by water, but a life is a life.
There are many photos circling the web, as well as every social media outlet. The damage that has taken place is truly devastating. It pains my heart, because I have been to Gatlinburg every year, since my first year of visiting, back in November of 2012.
It is truly one of the most beautiful places you could ever travel to. Mountains surrounding your every move, with delicious places to dine at, & many fun attractions to attend. There is never a dull moment while visiting Gatlinburg.
I’ve been to the Aquarium, the Titanic exhibit, Trudy’s Wax Museum, Every store in Gatlinburg, especially on the strip. I’ve been on the lifts that take you through the mountains, I’ve been to the whiskey brewery, & of course, the fudge house!
Even though Gatlinburg received majority of the damage, the surrounding counties of Sevier, Green, & McMinn were also in range to receive potential destruction as well. 12,000 people were without power in Sevier County, & all three counties listed above, cancelled school on Tuesday, for safey precautions.
It really does blow my mind that Tennessee has seen so much destruction in the passed couple of days. I’ve been planning a trip to go there, but now I guess I will have to wait until they can get themselves back on solid ground.
My heart does go out to the civillians of The surrounding area, as well as the entire state of Tennessee. But most importantly, my heart goes out to the loved ones who lost someone during this horrific event.
God Bless Gatlinburg, Tennessee, & everyone who has to face this destruction.