Officials from the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge has called for a mandatory evacuation following a wildfire. Latest updates state that the fire continues to grow due to strong winds in Tennessee.
According to 11alive.com, authorities warns the public to stay off the highway. The report stated that the fire moves northeast and has moved from one ridge to the other due to the wind and especially with no rain.
Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller stated that emergency and fire rescue people are working overtime to contain the fire. With the fire, black smoke has covered the area and has caused coughing to some residents. Aside from Gatlinburg, authorities over Pigeon Forge has also called for a mandatory evacuation. They have sent three school buses to transport evacuees to temporary shelters.
Evacuation shelters include LeConte Center at Forge Pigeon, Forge Community Center and the Liberty Baptist Church in Wears Valley. Aside from that, the First Redbank Baptist Church in Sevierville will also be open to shelter evacuees.
Included in the mandatory evacuation are the neighborhood of Mynatt Park, East Foothills Road, Turkey Nest Road, and Davenport Road. Authorities are going door-to-door informing residents. The wildfire started on Nov. 23 at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to Ashton Huddleston, a resident, the smoke is unbearable and stress that school officials should suspend classes immediately.
Meanwhile, as firefighters and volunteers combat the wildfire, investigators are following a lead that the fire is human caused. With the wildfire growing more than a week, authorities from Gatlinburg and nearby neighborhood are doing their best to contain it.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewelling of the National Park Service/Creative Commons