The Gatlinburg Fire are now Gatlinburg Fires | Update 2

Updated 11:30 PM PST / 2:30 AM  CST

How This Fire IS so Dangerous for its People

Gatlinburg, Tennessee has had several wildfires touching their town but this has been one of the worst in history and in the County (Sevier).  As we had reported on other wildfires in Tennessee most of them have been Arson caused.

Though we do not know the official cause of this wildfire(s) at this moment, what we know is that fires have been reported as several starts from various causes such as an outside wildfire and embers carried into the area or those reporting fire running down the Chimney Top fire into the town.  As some of you may know, Fire investigators will not be able to gain access to the burned out areas until it has been contained, extinguished and cooled off.

Please pray for those that work/play/live in Tennessee and First Responders who leave their own families and friends behind to respond to these wildfires.  We also ask that you think and pray for those who are supporting those on the fire ground, in the EOC, Red Cross, Incident Cooperators and so many  others we are unable to include in this post. (See some of the listed below)

****

Incident Cooperators

Emergency Management….

  • Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement…..

  • TN Dept. of Ag
  • TN Dept. of Forestry,
  • State Fire Marshal
  • Dept. of Corrections
  • MIlitary
  • TN Highway Patrol (THP)
  • TN National Guard
  • TN Fire Mutual Aid agencies
  • Chattanooga FD (Fire crew + BC)

Government Agencies…..

  • Commerce & Insurance
  • Environmental
  • Conservation
  • TN DOT
  • State Parks
  • TN Wildlife Reserve Agency
  • TN Dept. of Public Health and Human Services
  • Dept. of Tourist Development

Special Assignments

The following Agencies have been tasked with various responsibilities and duties, as part of this wildfire incident.

TN Dept. of Health…Consulting to send medical units from surrounding counties with assistance with medical transports.

TN Highway Patrol…..Deploying strike teams to assist with evacuations and traffic control.

National Guard…..Mobilizing 100  personnel from Eastern TN, providing transportation for 1st responders, removing light debris and assisting with welfare checks.

TN DOT…..Securing fuel resources & equipment, replenishing diesel fuel for Firefighter/1st responders’ vehicles.

TN Dept. of Tourist Development…..ID’ing lodging resources to assist those displaced persons.

TN Fire Mutual Aid Coordination…..Coordination of 50 – 60 fire apparatus from local Fire Departments.

TN State Governor…..Declared State of Emergency.  Went to visit with 1st Responders and see the destruction himself.

****

Evacuations

Areas….The following have evacuated from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other parts in Sevier County.

Shelters (People)….1200 ppl have evacuated and are Sheltering in Place at the following locations:

  •  Gatlinburg Community Center
  • Rocky Top Sports Rink
  • Le Corte Center @ Pigeon Forge
  • Liberty Baptist Church (Wears Valley)
  • Iglesia Cristina La Duz Da Jesus (Sevierville)
  • First Red Bank Baptist Church (Sevierville)
  • First Baptist of Sevierville
  • River Plantation RV Resort
  • Anchor Down RV Resort
  • Trinity Baptist Church

Shelter (Pets)….The following are those that are offering or assisting with Animals & Livestock Shelters

  • Douglas Lakeview Stables. Kristi @ 864-671-8439.  1650 Providence Road, Sevierville. Call first. Offering pasture for animals & livestock.
  • The Barker Lounge. Lory.  865-771-3738, Offering shelter facilities for overnight lodging of pets.

****

Damage Assessments

It has been reported by numerous sources that the following has occurred.

Structures Impacted…..100 homes in Sevier County.  10 homes including 30 structures including a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive, the Driftwood Apartments and others near the Park Vista Hotel (as of 2 AM CST) in Gatlinburg.

Injuries

Burned….3 severely burned residents, current conditions are unknown (3rd hand report).  1 Official report (male evacuee), current condition unknown

Fatalities….. 0.

****

Closures

Highway 441… has been closed out of Gatlinburg, except for emergency only traffic.  The exit of  Highway 441 outside the City will remain open to allow those to still leave if they wish to.

Schools…..Green, McMinn and Sevier County schools have been closed.  NOTE :  Cocke County was delayed two hours.

****

Resources & Alerts for Evacuees

 

Stay off Cell Phones…. Please stay off cell phones unless it is an emergency.  Officials wish to have these lines cleared to allow for emergency traffic only.

 

City Closed… No one is being allowed back into the City. Those who are still in the City, need to evacuate immediately! Also the National Park has been closed as well.

Red Cross App…. Let your friends and loved ones know you are safe and well and/or those looking for loved ones can also use this app.  Go to the American Red Cross app @ https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

Facebook App….Let your friends and loved ones know you are safe and well by checking into Facebook’s activated Safety Check app here –> https://www.facebook.com/about/safetycheck/

****

Looking Through The Eyes of Social Media

Here is an updated look through those posting about the wildfire and what they are seeing through their own eyes.

Suspected Arson?…..As you may wonder, some are starting to speculate it could be arson related. (No confirmation on our part yet of the cause.)

Mainstream Media…..Users on Twitter took out their frustrations of networks such as CNN and other networks covering the Political world while a complete city in TN was burning down. (Ed. Note:  We are showing actually many mainstream media outlets covering this large scale wildfire but not as in depth as our Posts).

Ripley’s Aquarium…..Officials were reportedly saying that the Aquarium are still intact and the facility’s power generated was activated keeping all animals all safe.

Downtown Gatlinburg’s areas…..Reports that most of damage has been done but most of DT’s areas are still intact.

Amateur Radio communications on Stand-by…..The TN ARES community is on Stand-by and ready to help whenever needed but for now, the local communities in Sevier, Jefferson and Knox Counties are handling all communications for Command, TEMA and for Red Cross (Red Cross org + 2 shelters as Liasion with Command).

Here is a snapshot of one ARES member posting in the Community on Facebook.  Local HAMS are assisting in local communities.  12 wildfires are not burning but blazing in Eastern TN.  Fires threatening resort communications.  High wind with gusts up to 70+ mph.  Tinder dry conditions.

Fire started on Chimney Top fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  550 acres.  0% contained. Embers carried to communications outside of Park starting new fires.  Down power lines starting more fires.

No fatalities have been reported but three have suffered burns.  Numerous businesses and homes have been destroyed.

Heroes In Action…..Earlier this morning, TN State Troopers walked around in Gatlinburg, TN as fire surrounded them to rescue multiple people trapped by flames.

Bear Rescued…..Footage of a small bear cub is seen running around a heavily smoky roadway where a man is being chased by the animal holding on for dear life, as he gravitates to the man’s leg.  So cute but so sad animals are being smoked out. KUDOS, to his rescuer!

Destruction….Over 100 structures said to be damaged/destroyed in Gatlinburg.  Heavy rain is happening now, however buildings are still burning.

****

How YOU Can Help Evacuees

List of Organizations….Here is a compiled list put together by a local media outlet.  http://www.wbir.com/news/local/how-to-help-gatlinburg-pigeon-forge-fire-evacuees/357810685

****

Please Help…..Find Missing Gatlinburg/Sevierville Man

Missing….We have information that has come to light about a missing man around the time the wildfires occurred.  He was reported as missing as of yesterday (11/28/2016).  He spoke with family which he stated that his own house was destroyed.

We are doing a repost by the Amanda Phillips, the daughter of missing Brad Phillips from Gatlinburg/Sevierville, TN.  Please circulate his photo and let’s help this lady find her missing Dad.

She states she needs assistance searching shelters as family is not in the area to assist and asking those on Social Media channels to help search shelters.

 

Thank you for reading our Post about these terrible fires in Tennessee.  Please join us in keeping all those in TN in our Thoughts and Prayers this evening. – Editor.

(c) The #NWFireBlog