Fires in Gatlinburg, TN, Engulf Beloved Tourist Destination
Fueled by extremely dry conditions and strong winds, a wildfire from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has spread and is raging through eastern Tennessee. And, the popular tourist destination Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is right in the path of the out-of-control fires forcing residents and visitors to evacuate.
If you're a person of prayer, we could use your prayers," Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said Monday evening as crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph.
The southeast has suffered the worst drought in nearly a decade, and embers from the original fire have been spread throughout the region from the strong wing gusts. "Everything was like a perfect storm," said Cassius Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to CNN affiliate WATE.
Though no deaths have been reported, the beloved Ripley's Aquarium has been evacuated with 1,500 animals left unattended in the path of the fire. And, some are having a hard time evacuating due to the fire blocking all roads.