Tennessee wildfire near Gatlinburg prompts evacuations – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

(CNN) – A wildfire burning near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevier County, Tennessee has spread to more than 3,700 acres and affected more than 100 structures, the mayor said. of the county, Larry Waters, during a press conference Thursday.

About 11,000 homes have been evacuated since the Hatcher Mountain Road/Indigo Lane fire started on Wednesday, the mayor said. It was 30% contained as of Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Two firefighters suffered “minor injuries,” Waters said, in addition to a civilian who was injured when the fire overtook him while working on a bulldozer. Waters did not have a marital status update.

There are no reports of deaths or missing people as a result of the fire, Waters said, calling the news “answered prayers”.

Five emergency vehicles, including four county vehicles and one state vehicle, were damaged as a result of the fire, Waters said.

Mandatory evacuation orders in the county, which includes Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, will remain in place, Waters said. Officials will work “as quickly as possible to get our people home,” he added.

Emma Frederick and her family, who were staying in an Airbnb rental in Sevier County for the week, received an evacuation alert on Wednesday afternoon when they were out and unable to retrieve their belongings from the cabin . The family stayed at a hotel and have been in contact with the Airbnb host, who is unaware of the cabin’s status, Frederick told CNN.

Dolly Parton, who is of Sevier Countywrote on Twitter that she was following the fires.

“It looks scary on TV, but I’m proud of how everyone in the area stepped up as they always do. I’m especially proud of the brave men and women working to contain the fire” , wrote the singer.

She added that she was in contact with people at Dollywood, Parton’s amusement park in Pigeon Forge, and that all is “good there”.

“I know there are people who have been affected, and I hope you will join me in saying a prayer for them,” Parton said.

The fire prompted the Sevier County school system to cancel classes Thursday “out of an abundance of caution for our students, parents and staff,” he said in a post. on its website.

In the meantime, at least three shelters were opened to accommodate people potentially displaced by the fires, county officials said.

“The American Red Cross asks people planning to go to an evacuation center to bring bedding (such as pillows) and prescribed medications with them to make their stay more comfortable,” the agency said. . said in a tweet.

Firefighters “from across the state” “rushed in” to help, Waters said, thanking the firefighters and forestry crews who worked to put out the blaze.

“This fire could have been much more devastating if we hadn’t had this team in place,” he said.

The area was under a severe wind warning overnight and as winds eased into the day Thursday, the National Weather Service said wind gusts of up to 30 mph were expected in the evening, with gusts more powerful possible in certain places.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Waters said.

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