Tennessee Wildfires: “It’s the apocalypse on both sides” of Downtown Gatlinburg…

Prayers for the people of Tennessee as they deal with a horrific dry season.  The tourist site and historic town of Gatlinburg is currently under serious threat.  Things are really bad.  There’s a video below showing two guys and a dog escaping –  watch it and you’ll see just how bad it is:

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Hillbilly Golf, Arrowmont Arts and Crafts School, major hotels, a good portion of Regan Drive and countless other businesses and homes have been destroyed in a blaze that has firefighters continuing their efforts overnight in Gatlinburg, Tenn.


“The center of Gatlinburg looks good for now,” said Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding. “It’s the apocalypse on both sides (of downtown).”

An estimated 40 to 50 fire units from volunteer agencies across East and Middle Tennessee were helping fight the fires, with a command center set up at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

Thirty structures are on fire in Gatlinburg, including the Park Vista Hotel, a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive and the Driftwood Apartment complex near the Park Vista that has “been completely inundated,” according to Dean Flener, spokesman for Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, in Nashville.

The elementary school, Pi Beta Phi, has not been destroyed, which is a change from initial reports from fire officials.

[…] TEMA reported earlier no fatalities that the organization knows of, but one report of a burn injury to an evacuee and minor injuries due to a fire truck involved in an accident.

LeConte Medical Center has treated four patients related to the fires, according to Covenant Health spokeswoman Tonya Stoutt-Brown. She did not have any further details early Tuesday morning.

Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville said late Monday night that they were on alert but had not received any patients from the fires.

Local officials ordered mandatory evacuations for Mynatt Park, Park Vista, Ski Mountain and the city of Gatlinburg. Evacuations were also ordered for the north end of Pigeon Forge.

The National Guard is looking at deploying personnel to help clear debris, but no timeline has been set for their arrival, said Flener. (read more)

update-1Check out this incredible escape video.  If they had been driving a car they would never have made it through.


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266 Responses to Tennessee Wildfires: “It’s the apocalypse on both sides” of Downtown Gatlinburg…

  1. Katherine McCoun says:

    I just got off the phone with Samaritans Purse. They do not yet have a special fund or boots on the ground or trucks on the way for us to donate specifically to the fire affected people are and areas. When they do then we can donate specifically to those projects/actions. Any money now will go to most needed areas which will be some of these areas I am sure but aren’t specific to them yet.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Another well known organization you can donate to and designate 100% go to fire relief fund. http://friendsofthesmokies.org/product/givingtuesday/

      We received news from a realtor in Gatlinuburg, rain last night helped a lot, and heavy rain is expected tonight. Dollywood and most of downtown Gatlinburg are fine. Except, sigh, Hillbilly Golf is gone. 😦 I just hope they rebuild!!! NO! Not Hillbilly golf…
      Ripley’s Aquarium and the animals are all fine as well. Here’s a more detailed list:

      Property Damage Report:
      This is the latest damage report we have obtained– probably more reliable than all the twitter feeds, but not guaranteed-

      Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: All buildings except Hughes Hall and Wild Wing survived with little damage.
      Black Bear Falls: TEMA reports it was destroyed, but numerous people have contacted us to tell us that is not the case. We are working to confirm that information.
      Chalet Village: Suffered damage, but not destroyed (Our office is standing!)
      CLIMB Works: Intact
      Cobbly Knob area: About 70 homes destroyed
      Cupid’s Chapel of Love: Destroyed
      Dollywood: Several cabins damaged or destroyed. DreamMore resort not damaged. Dollywood park has some wind damage but no damage from fire. Park will be closed tomorrow.Wednesd
      Downtown Gatlinburg: Mostly intact – some structures at far end destroyed (old hotel) maybe Christus Gardens and Mysterious Mansion on River Road.
      Greystone Heights: Damaged
      Elkmont: Intact
      Hillbilly Golf: Destroyed
      LeConte Lodge: Intact
      Little Log Wedding Chapel: Intact
      Mysterious Mansion: Destroyed
      Ober Gatlinburg: Intact
      Parrot Mountain: Intact
      Pi Beta Phi Elementary School: Intact
      Ripley’s Aquarium: Intact

      Wears Valley area: About 70 homes destroyed in the Dogwood Farms area
      Westgate Resort: Damaged, but not destroyed
      Cobbly Nob: About 70 homes destroyed

      Liked by 5 people

      • wondering999 says:

        Thank you. I’ve been looking for news and hadn’t found specifics. Please keep updating.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I received a 3rd update in my email this evening. I copied the info so I could paste it here. I’ve been receiving updates from Jane Terrell of Century 21 Realty in Gatlinburg. The updates are as follows:

          Property Damage Report:
          (not guaranteed- it is a “fluid” situation)

          Highland Condos show heavy damage from the air-- have not had a report from on the ground yet but it is on way to our office so hopefully we can see in the morning.
          Tree Tops resort has sustained heavy damage.
          Alamo Steak House in Gatlinburg is destroyed.
          Buckberry Inn is feared destroyed- not absolutely confirmed.
          Black Bear Falls is being reported to be destroyed by news personnel, but I got a first hand report from a cabin owner who just left there and said not true.
          Cedar Falls Resort is showing some minor wind damages but no fire damage.
          Gatlinburg Space Needle, Slice Restaurant and Headcase in Gatlinburg are all standing and will be open for business once power is restored.

          General Updates:

          Gatlinburg Mayor declared a 6 pm to 6 am curfew in town until further notice.
          Gatlinburg residents are encouraged to boil drinking water (I am not sure if this extends to Sevierville as well) if it comes from a community or city source.
          Three lives have been lost to date, with 14 hospitalized.  There are many areas that have not been able to be checked yet due to road conditions, and there are people unaccounted for.
          Governor Haslam reported that this fire is the largest in Tennessee in 100 years.  Federal and state assistance is beginning to come in.
          Keeping it in perspective though-- most of the "strip" in Gatliburg and the Arts and Crafts Glades area is intact, and will be back in business as soon as things can be cleaned up and power restored.

          Fire Progress:

          The rain last night helped slow things down, but there are still active fires and hot spots burning.  Containing the fires is slow progess due to downed power lines and trees.
          Tonight's weather forecast is not great-- although good rain is predicted, the winds bringing it could exceed 40 mph in town and 60 mph in the higher elevations, where the first still burn.  If there is an extended period of time of high winds before the rain starts, it could spread fire in the same manner as last night.
          Heavy rains could bring landslides.

          Cabin Checks
          We know that many of you are out of state and cannot get information about your homes here. Power and phones are out, and cabin companies are overwhelmed right now. If you email us your cabin name and address, we will try and do a drive by of as many as we can and let you know if they are “still standing”. We cannot go into properties due to electric and gas lines, but will do our best to get you some info. It may take a while– many roads are still not accessible because of downed trees and power lines. But send me your info and I will get the team to see what we can do.

          My Prayers for everyone involved in the fire. Looks like God is sending some rain. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • aprilyn43 says:

      Keep us informed so any who can and want to help will know.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. RP Williford says:

    Many Many years ago, my husband and I married in the Chapel (pictured above), that burnt down. We both feel the loss, and for those who live in Sevier County, you have our hearts & prayers.

    WATE.com and WBIR.com are both providing live coverage, on their Home pages. Mayor & Fire Chief are expecting to hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Katherine Mccoun says:

    Gov. Haslam asking Sevier county to stay off of mobile devices

    Arsonists ARE believed to have started some of the fires. Who and their motives not stated.

    local news story (from Knoxville) on Gatlinburg


  4. Katherine McCoun says:

    Hate citing CNN and to add insult to my click they have the story labeled “extreme weather”. But it does have the info. There was mandatory evacuation. No fatalities are being officially reported yet (thinking about the report from the firefighter on the ground posted on upthread: sometimes reports from on the ground at the time are more extreme do to trauma of living through it and complete and absolute exhaustion cause exaggerated perception that what one witnessed is what is happening everywhere or it might not be officially reported yet).

    Another local news story

    I am not a twitter user and like many conservatives am disgusted with their politically repressive policies. However, I went to the twitter page for the hashtag of gatlinburg and found a wealth of information. Old media is outdated. I have only read other’s references to twitter before and am impressed and amazed at the wealth of info.

    Liked by 2 people

    • the one positive thing that can be said about Twitter is that the ability to post real-time has been helpful in situations like this.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The repressive censorship on Twitter is real, but is also greatly exaggerated. As in everything else, users find creative ways to skirt around the problem and communicate their ideas. The main hindrance is their manipulation of “hashtag” trends that encourage certain memes to “go viral” while others do not. For the most part, though, the networks of like-minded “Followers” can (and do) communicate freely among themselves, even IF their stories/ideas may not spread as quickly as they would in a totally neutral environment.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. jnearen2013 says:

    What a terrible scene. Gatlinburg was named last year by TripAdvisor as the #1 up and coming tourist destination in the United States. I’ve seen the results of wildfires (in Colorado). It will take years and years for the surrounding forest to recover. Until then it will essentially be a moonscape. This is a terrible tragedy for all those who have invested their lives in this beautiful community.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Depending on the damage…there was a much much smaller fire near Black Mountain, NC last year. I hike in that area. This year, it was unbelievable the regrowth…it just fills in with lower level stuff, brush, etc…obviously. large trees take a very long time, but in the meantime, there is green and wildflowers…really, the damage was already blending in…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Katherine McCoun says:

    video from last night

    Video of Gatlinburg taken this morning

    Dailymail article
    It is breaking into the lame stream, old media now
    sorry to post so much but so close to home for me (several hours away and we are fine but areas I know well and is part of my extended home area) and an utter catastrophe

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dora says:

    Liked by 4 people

  8. My memories, my people, my mountains, my home….

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Good news, there was just a soaker of a storm system that moved through Illinois yesterday and it’s supposed to be in that area today! I pray it makes it and holds together so it can put out some of these fires.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Where’s Obama when you need him? Anyone called the golf courses?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. It's 5 o'clock Somewhere says:

    For the love of God……..”Occams Razor” people. Arson has been a popular low tech tool for these Satan muzzie freaks! Remember reading an article a few years ago about this method of terrorism being used here in the USA. Praying for all impacted by this horrific ordeal. We will pull together and take care of our own……..we are the United States of America…:God Bless!
    Please post any links to legit donation sites….I will not do Red Cross .

    Liked by 5 people

    • My repost didn’t put this under your request,,,,,trying again. Simply reposting because of your request. WE couldn’t give TeamRubicon higher praise. Just remember because of all the politics the onsite agencies must grant TR permission. Keep checking their site to see if advance team dispatched and if they are given the go ahead they will put up a specific “TN fire donation” page….they always say if you don’t like the way they use your money they will refund in full no questions asked. simply great folks.

      We will keep praying. I also just alerted my contacts/friends at TeamRubicon, They are the agency that gets involved once given the go ahead by on-sight agency coordination giving them permission. They are former and current military personnel, volunteering to help during disasters to clear structures that have been damaged to give owners a head start in the immediacy of a tragedy, and provide logistics because of their training to get into hard to access areas.

      They are such a blessing, a fantastic organization that we have been contributors to for many years. Check them out for yourselves and also check back often to watch for their “Help Tennessee” page if/when it comes up. https://teamrubiconusa.org/

      My contact said he has passed on the info to the planner for this region so I am sure they will go in if permission is granted. Be safe! Prayers for all will continue!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Some good news out of Gatlinburg…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I live in WNC and we had about 3/4 inch of rain last night along with high winds. Our fires were about 85% contained yesterday; saying between 1 and 2 inches of rain for tomorrow. They got the high winds in TN but no rain…I have hiked in the Chimney Rock area and that is where the fire started. Says arson….I watched that escape video posted above and that was really scary..those guys are lucky to be alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Katherine McCoun says:

    Interesting first hand accounts:



  15. Eric Kennedy says:

    Liked by 1 person

    • stacksotall says:

      I was just talking to my wife about this. I mean there are fires raging in Israel where Muslim set fire or were suspected of setting fires, right?

      Liked by 3 people

    • angryduc says:

      Gov. Bill Haslan (R) voted for Romeny pushing Sharia compliance and appears to have a muslim advisory counsel in his cabinet to the exclusion of all other religions. Maybe someone from TN can confirm if this is accurate.


    • rhcrest says:

      I suspect it was muslim arson as well. We really need to get a handle on this problem here in the US. I want my children to be safe like when I was growing up and terrorist attacks were just the stuff of movies. Even if Trump stops bringing anymore in here -which he better- what about all the ones that are here already? I feel like we will never be safe like we were before.


  16. Serena says:

    My niece who lives in Pigeon Forge got to go back to her cabin this morning to get what she needs and then had to leave. She does not know when she will get to move back in but at least she still has a home and more importantly her life. She said there are so many homes that have burned along her road and she was crying and dropped to her knees to thank the Lord when she saw her house still there. Now she feels guilty that hers was spared but I told her she can’t feel that way. She said it is just devastating and the people are in shock but they are coming together to help each other.God please help them all.

    Liked by 7 people

    • God bless Serena. Let your niece know we are praying for her and all in the community, and for all the first responders having to cope and deal with this devastating tragedy. We will be here to help our brothers and sisters in TN. Stay strong Serena your niece will need you, you gave her great advice. Be well and God bless.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Serena says:

        Thank you. She just told me the fire behind her cabin has started up again and they are desperately trying to put it out.Praying they get it under control.Praying for all in the area and the poor animals,too.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Pam says:

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Do they know who set all of these fires? I know that Tennessee has quite a few Mosques and Muslims are fond of committing arson in their continuing jihad against the infidels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • annieoakley says:

      I believe that Arson is the case and muzz, because of fires in CO that just intensified out of nowhere with wind, are the major cause. They did this in Israel with wind over Thanksgiving (here).


  19. Andrew J Falsinator says:

    Being a weather dork, I’ve seen a lot of frightening radar loops. This one topped them all:

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Press conference in progress, 3 confirmed dead


  21. Dora says:

    Liked by 1 person

  22. dayallaxeded says:

    While the acute cause may well be terrorist arson, I’d be willing to bet a six-pack that federal and possibly state parks/BLM stooges wouldn’t allow underbrush maintenance burns and other forest management practices that prevent these kinds of extreme, widespread wild fires. God decreed us to be nature’s stewards–that means we’re supposed to actually take care of it, not let it sit around until an entire region is a tender box. Once again, competency needs to TRUMP squishy ideology (or perhaps better when talking about the outgoing admin, “idiology”). In the meantime, prayers to all in and connected with the Pigeon Forge area–love that part of our wonderful nation!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. chrystalia99 says:

    Hey All– collecting all links for people seeking to donate, and also people who want to volunteer on my FB timeline and rebroadcasting on twitter. Monitoring 3 local tv stations and radio as well, so if anyone from tree house lives in that area you can pass along as you wish. Haven’t posted in forever, but have been lurking. URGENT NEED Sevier County Humane Society, they’re set up at a fairground I believe. This is my FB timeline, I don’t care who visits/shares, not the time to worry abt privacy etc. IF YOU KNOW OF ANY LOCALS IN AREA THAT HAVE NEEDS, OR ORGS NOT ON THE TIMELINE YET, MESSAGE ME ON FB or on my twitter @surfaholic15, or reply here, I am staying awake for duration. This is breaking my heart :-(. https://www.facebook.com/eva.landry.739

    Liked by 2 people

    • camulla says:

      Hi! I’m so glad to see this comment!


      • chrystalia99 says:

        I have to take a nap, been up all nite adding to the fb timeline, from the three local TV and everyone/anyone else. When I get up will update. Terrible things :-((


        • Dixie says:

          chrystalia99, good to hear from you. You’ve been away a long time and we missed you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • chrystalia99 says:

            well, had strange dude in suits with alphabets bugging me, didn’t want to track the dirt into the tree house. But they finally got bored for the moment. Was going to bed, but am way too keyed up and involved with info relay for gatlinburg so will be up a while longer. My FB timeline is somewhere in the comments, so if you’re of a mind to spread some news feel free and share, I gave up on privacy long time ago.

            Good to be back posting again, though, just lurking isn’t the same. Added bunch of stuff to blog and more on way in coming weeks


    • wondering999 says:

      Thank you for all you do


      • chrystalia99 says:

        You’re welcome–now have active tornado warnings in some counties, reports of one touching down outside of the fire zone. Those people are going through hell over there. Pass my FB timeline along to anyone who has an interest–volunteers are needed in the a.m. and much going on.

        Heaven, The Lord, Facebook, Twitter and their amazing local news had best help them, as the MSM is still not even close to doing it…


  24. Found some Damage footage from today..

    Liked by 1 person

  25. From the Asheville Citizen Times http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/outdoors/girls-gone-outdoors/2016/11/29/all-smokies-closed-due-fire/94597076/

    A news release this morning from Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced that officials have closed all facilities in the park due to the extensive fire activity, and downed trees. Park headquarters is without power and phone services.

    Fires began in the park Nov. 23 with a small, human-caused fire on the Chimney Tops Trail, just over the North Carolina state line in Tennessee. The fire was contained over the weekend, but the Chimney 2 Fire, suspected to be a spot fire from the Chimney Tops fire grew to 500 acres Monday. A third fire began Monday morning behind the Twin Creek Picnic Pavilion off Cherokee Orchard Road.

    The fires are suspected to be human-caused and are under investigation, said park spokesman Warren Bielenberg.

    Unusually high winds flamed the fires rapidly, which have spread to Gatlinburg, Tennessee


    GATLINBURG — Three people are confirmed dead after the wildfire that destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses as flames whipped by high-speed winds raged overnight through town and displaced more than 14,000 residents, the latest destruction by wildfires that have consumed more than 15,000 acres.

    “We do not have further information on them at this time,” Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said at an afternoon news conference. “We do not have identifications. We are working to identify those folks now.”

    He said the three died in separate incidents during the blaze, which officials earlier called unlike any in recent memory.

    “This is the largest fire in the state of Tennessee in 100 years,” said Gov. Bill Haslam, who visited the city Tuesday afternoon.
    The blaze apparently began when embers from a wildfire on nearby Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park wafted into the Twin Creek and Mynatt Park areas of town Monday night as already heavy winds doubled in speed, the fire chief said. The resulting flames swept through Gatlinburg in less than a quarter-hour, fanned by winds at speeds that approached 90 mph.

    “That’s nowhere to be when you’re trying to fight a fire,” Miller said. “That is hurricane force. Within a span of 15 minutes, we were dispatched to more than 20 structure fires.”

    Cassius Cash, superintendent of the national park, said the Chimney Tops fire was originally reported Sunday as covering about 50 acres. By Monday, the fire had grown to engulf 500 acres.

    “In my 25 years of federal (park) service, I’ve participated in many fires, but none of that could have prepared me for this,” Cash said, calling Monday night’s wind speeds “unprecedented.”

    Gatlinburg fire crews had attempted to prepare for the conditions by following various predictive models, but “to be honest, all that got thrown out the window at that point,” the fire chief said.


  26. Hubby is a TN boy. His family is in Knoxville, but we often visited Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Many years ago his family once owned a part of the area that is now the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and there is a very old family cemetery still there. This is heartbreaking. Today a friend posted an incredible sunset picture from another area that was deeply red in color and all I could think of were the wildfires. I wrote this Haiku as a response:

    Tennessee fires blaze
    adding cruel light to the phrase:
    Great Smoky Mountains


  27. This is up-to-date info on fires: fourth victim found. 8 new fires last night:


  28. There are now 7 deaths reported; Sen Alexander speaking today and reporting on the fire on Senate floor.



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