Raging Wildfires Across The South

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While an approaching strong storm is a glimmer of hope for firefighters battling wildfires in the South, officials warn there’s a potential down side. The storms are also bringing high winds, which toppled dead trees and could pose a threat to firefighters. And experts predict that rains today from one storm system won’t be enough to end the relentless drought that’s spread across several states, fueling the fires.

Tennessee officials say thousands of residents and visitors in the Gatlinburg area have been evacuated and hundreds of structures have been damaged and destroyed by spreading wildfires. Authorities say three people who suffered severe burns have been transferred from a Knoxville hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, which has a burn unit. Hundreds of firefighters as well as local and state personnel and National Guard troops have been sent in to help fight the blaze and check on people.

 

Dollywood representatives say the theme park hasn’t been damaged by wildfires, but more than a dozen cabins operated by the park have been damaged or destroyed.

A news release says Dollywood made an assessment of the park early Tuesday morning. On Monday night, resort staff evacuated families staying in 50 rooms at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and in 19 of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins.

The release notes that Dollywood has suspended park operations at least through Wednesday, but DreamMore will be open on a limited basis as a shelter and for registered guests.

Also on Tuesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported that the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park and ski area is fine. The agency previously received reports that the facility was likely destroyed.

Preliminary surveys indicate that the fires have wiped out the more than 100 buildings of the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa.

 

Tennessee officials say thousands of residents and visitors in the Gatlinburg area have been evacuated and hundreds of structures have been damaged and destroyed by spreading wildfires.

In a news release Tuesday morning, authorities say three people who suffered severe burns have been transferred from a Knoxville hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, which has a burn unit. A fourth person is being treated for facial burns in Knoxville.

(Source: AP)

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