Wildfire Rips Through Sevier County Tennessee

Courtesy of FairbanksMike (Flickr CCO)

Mandatory evacuations were ordered in the parts of the Sevier County, Tennessee area as wildfires spread. On Wednesday morning, a brush fire spread due to high winds and low humidity, causing it to rip through the county. The fire is near Indigo Lane, and Hatcher Mountain Road threatens the Wears Valley area.

The evacuation is for residents on Hatcher Mountain Road, Little Valley, and Shagbark resorts, and the Black Bear Resort located just off of Lost Branch Road. Residents in the nearby area are also strongly encouraged to evacuate.

The Hatcher Mountain Road/Indigo Lane Fire is approximately 1,000 acres large with no containment as of 9:00 p.m. EDT, according to the Tennessee Forestry Department. One person was reported injured, and 35 buildings and numerous vehicles were harmed at 8:30 p.m.

Fire Location and Evacuation Point

Highway 321/Wears Valley Road is closed between Townsend and Pigeon Forge while fire department crews respond to the wildfire. The police department in Pigeon Forge cautioned that road closure stretches to the city limits of Pigeon Forge. Traffic will not be allowed to go into Wears Valley until further notice.

Officials stated that a shelter had been created for those who were evacuated from their homes. The shelter is located at the Pigeon Forge Community Center at 170 Community Center Drive, Pigeon Forge, TN, 37863. The Red Cross is assisting the Emergency Management Agency of Sevier County with the evacuation shelter.

The blaze started with a brush fire on Wednesday morning. It burned a cabin in the area, and other cabins were threatened. This drew the response of multiple agencies, according to WVLT-TV, who cited the Tennessee Division of Forestry and the Sevier County Fire Department.

Numerous fire departments are assisting in the attempts to contain the wildfire. These departments include Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Cleveland, Wildland Task Force, Badley County Fire and Rescue, and the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

The North Carolina Forest Service warned that outdoor conditions would remain windy and dry. These conditions make outside fires dangerous in the areas affected, including parts of Tennessee. Local officials strongly recommend that residents hold off on burning until good rainfall occurs.

Courtesy of cisc1970 (Flickr CCO)

The Great Gatlinburg Wildfires

The Gatlinburg Wildfires devastated the area in 2016. Fourteen people were killed, and 2,500 buildings were destroyed as the Gatlinburg Wildfires ripped through the Sevier County area.

During the Gatlinburg Wildfires in 2016, more than 11,00 acres were destroyed in the smokey mountain park, and 17,000 acres were burned.

The Great Gatlinburg Wildfire was started by juveniles playing with matches and high winds that fueled the flame. They were arrested and charged with aggravated arson. However, six months later, the charges were dropped. Many people were angry that the charges were dropped.

East Tennessee native and country star Dolly Parton started the “My People Fund” to aid those affected by the wildfire. The fund helped families rebuild after losing a huge part of their lives in the wildfires. Victims received thousands of dollars. Volunteers from across the world relieved the victims’ stress and donated to the “My People Fund.” Millions of dollars were donated to the cause, and many people were given a chance to rebuild.

Written by Marrissa Kay
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


U.S. News: Wildfire Near Smoky Mountains Prompts Mandatory Evacuations; by Associated Press
ABC 13 News: 1 injured in Wears Valley, TN wildfire that’s grown to about 1,000 acres, officials report; by Kari Barrows
Remembering the Gatlinburg Wildfires five years later; by Kelly Ann Krueger
WBIR 10 News: EMA: Wears Valley wildfire now 1,000 acres and 0% contained; mandatory evacuations issued; by Madalyn Torres, Elizabeth Sims

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of FairbanksMike’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of cisc1970’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License