Wildfire outbreak near Great Smoky Mountains National Park prompts mandatory evacuations

uncontained fire outbreak in sevier county mountains
Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 30, 2022

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/AP) — A wildfire in an area of Tennessee near Great Smoky Mountains National Park has prompted mandatory evacuations.

WVLT-TV quotes authorities as saying that the blaze started with a brush fire Wednesday morning.

The Sevier County Emergency Management Agency said more than 500 people were being evacuated Wednesday from the Hatcher Mountain area of Wears Valley and Walden's Creek and the resorts of Shagbark, Little Valley and Black Bear. Evacuees were sent to the Gatlinburg Convention Center and the Pigeon Forge Community Center.

By Thursday morning, Gatlinburg residents were allowed to return home.

"The fire in these areas has been extinguished," the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency said in a statement on Facebook.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said 100 homes have been damaged and a vehicle was burned. One person was injured.

The uncontained fire had spread to more than 3,700 acres in the Wears Valley community by Wednesday night.

Officials say warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds have increased the risk of fire danger.

A map of the fire outbreak area is visible at this link.

Emergency crews from many Middle Tennessee communities are responding to the region to help fight the fire.

Personnel from the Brentwood, Rutherford County, Putnam County, Cookeville, La Vergne, Livingston and Williamson County have been sent to East Tennessee for support.