Wildfire Causes Destruction in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Tennessee wildfire lights up the Smoky Mountains (Courtesy of

Emily Robertson, Staff Writer

A wildfire has blazed through over 16,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge area (Fox).

According to USA Today, the wildfire began on the Chimney Tops Trail of the Smoky Mountains on November 26, where only a few acres were burned. This fire appeared to be human-caused, though that does not necessarily mean it was arson (thedailytimes).

Since then, fire has spread, killing fourteen people, and destroying over one thousand businesses and homes (USA Today).

Dolly Parton, famous actress, singer, and owner of the Dollywood Resort in Pigeon Forge, is starting a relief fund for families in Eastern Tennessee (RollingStone). She intends to provide $1,000 a month for six months to affected families so they can get back on their feet.

WBIR lists the condition of resorts and restaurants in the affected areas, some of those including the Buckberry Lodge, Tree Tops Resort, and Westgate Resort.

Senior Andrew Wirrig travels to Gatlinburg multiple times a year with his family. Wirrig states that he is most concerned for the animals of the Smoky Mountains.

Many animals have been displaced due to the fires, and organizations are asking for monetary donations to medically treat any affected animals (

The wildfire has been staunched due to rainfall, but this provides potential hazard with mudslides, as vegetation is not present to hold soil down (USA Today).

The National Park Service has closed many facilities in the park due to damage from the wildfire.

Families wait anxiously for news on missing family members.

Be thankful this holiday season, as some people have recently lost everything they have due to the fires in Tennessee.