Fire forces evacuation of Gatlinburg

Prayers for Gatlinburg after fire

All of us at Century 21 MVP are so devastated to see our community ravaged this week by a raging fire that quickly swept across 500 acres of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, into Gatlinburg, and down toward Pigeon Forge.

As many of you have heard by now, a fire that started on Chimney Tops was carried by wind to nearby areas on Monday and quickly spread across the National Park. By the end of the day, it had spread so rapidly that it reached Gatlinburg and spread across to Pigeon Forge. The entire city of Gatlinburg was evacuated, as were homes around Wears Valley.

There are many stories already of answered prayers and miraculous intervention for so many individuals. As the reports began to come in from the news and social media in the early morning hours, we learned at least 12 people were in need of medical attention (though nothing life-threatening to that point), and we learned late in the afternoon that three people lost their lives. It is a time like this that we appreciate the preciousness of human beings and realize that our belongings are not the treasures of our life. The real treasures are found in the lives of our friends and families.
The outpouring of sacrifice and volunteer spirit is very overwhelming here as firefighters, police officers, restaurants, churches, all step in to save lives, and property.

Thankfully, the rain we had been praying so long for arrived late Monday evening, but not soon enough to avoid the evacuation of approximately 14,000 people from Gatlinburg. Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that three people have lost their lives in the fire, and some families are still separated and searching for each other. 100 structures in Cobbly Nob burned and at least 30 buildings in Gatlinburg were destroyed by the fire. We also learned Tuesday morning that 100 buildings at West Gate are gone, as well as cabins in Black Bear Falls. In all, about 150 structures were destroyed by fire in Sevier County. The National Guard was called in to provide aid and evacuation centers were set up for displaced residents. Volunteer firefighters from multiple fire departments are still out battling the blazes to keep them contained while we wait for more rain to come. Police officers have been going door to door to evacuate people. And many lost power as the strong winds – reaching gusts of almost 90 miles per hour at times – pulled down electric poles and power lines that contributed to the spread of the fire.

City officials told local news outlets that half – about five miles of the city of Gatlinburg – was affected by the fire, but not the downtown area.

Firefighters continue to battle fires

By late Tuesday morning, 14 fires were still reported to be burning but firefighters are continuing to do everything they could to contain them while we await more rain. Please keep our communities, our emergency personnel, and all of those directly effected by these fires in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

WATE has been providing continuous coverage of what’s going on in Sevier County. You can learn more about the fire and how it has affected our communities here and at wate.com.

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