Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge wildfire evacuation information

wildfire

Evacuations

The city of Gatlinburg and nearby communities are being evacuated due to wildfires. Nobody is allowed into the city at this time.

The Sevier County Emergency Management Agency said if you are currently in Gatlinburg and are able to evacuate, evacuate immediately and follow any instructions from emergency officials. If you are not instructed to evacuate, they urge people to please stay off the roads.

  • Downtown Gatlinburg
  • Areas along the Spur
  • Pigeon Forge between traffic light 8 and the Spur
  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Mynatt Park, Savage Gardens, East Foothills Road, Turkey Nest Road, Davenport and Ski Mountain communities
  • Parts of Vonore and Tellico Plains
  • Dollywood DreamMore Resort, Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins

Three county school buses are available in Pigeon Forge for emergency transport and are being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate.

Gatlinburg residences are encouraged to evacuate using Highway 321 to evacuate. Gatlinburg residents needing assistance with transportation can call the Gatlinburg Fire Department at 865-436-5181.

Shelters

  • LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge
  • Pigeon Forge Community Center
  • Liberty Baptist Church in Wears Valley
  • Iglesia Cristiana La Luz De Jesus
  • The First Red Bank Baptist Church in Sevierville
  • River Plantation RV Resort and Anchor Down RV Resort
  • Trinity Baptist Church, 1995 Hartford Rd, Cosby
  • Gatlinburg Community Center
  • Rocky Top Sports World
  • Kodak event center
  • Livestock: Douglas Lakeview Stables, 1650 Providence Rd in Sevierville. Contact Kristi at 864-671-8439. Barker Lounge (open for dogs)

School Closings

  • Sevier County Schools
  • Cocke County Schools
  • Greene County Schools

The latest:

11:43 p.m.

Liberty Baptist church has been closed as a shelter and ordered to evacuate, according to Pastor Dan Suttles. Dan Cutshall is the pastor at New Hope Church in Kodak and he says their event center is now open as an evacuation shelter.
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11:34 p.m.

The latest information from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency:

TEMA is asking residents in Sevier County to stay off mobile devices unless it is for emergency calls to prevent taxing the mobile system.

Strong winds Monday afternoon caused a wildland fire on Chimney Top Mountain, in the Smoky Mountain National Park to spread rapidly onto private property in the City of Gatlinburg and in the City of Pigeon Forge.

Currently 30 structures are on fire in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive and the Driftwood Apartments reported fully involved near the Park Vista Hotel.

Evacuations are underway for Downtown Gatlinburg, and also Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mount in Gatlinburg, and for the south part of Pigeon Forge close to Sevierville. The wildfire is also at the edge of the Dollywood property.

Sevier County and Gatlinburg officials have established a command center at Gatlinburg City Hall.
Local officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for Mynatt Park, Park Vista, and Ski Mountain. Evacuations have also been ordered for the north end of Pigeon Forge.

State Hwy. 441 heading into Gatlinburg is closed, except for emergency traffic. State Hwy. 441 leaving Gatlinburg is open to evacuating traffic.

There are reports of downed power lines and trees, and reports of road closures, including Highway 441 being closed. 9-1-1 communications centers in the area report being inundated with calls about the situation.

Sevier County and Cocke County schools will be closed on Tuesday.
There are no reports of fatalities. There is a report of a report a burn injury to a male evacuee. There is also a report of minor injuries due to a fire truck involved in an accident.

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11:14 p.m.

Pete Owens with Dollywood said 19 cabins that were occupied within Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins were evacuated early Monday evening. He said they just evacuated Dollywood DreamMore Resort.

Owens said fire crews are in the park and are taking preventative measures to ensure all structures are intact at Dollywood. No structures are on fire and no persons have been injured.

10:10 p.m.

The National Guard is being deployed to Gatlinburg.

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7:44 p.m.

Gatlinburg fire officials have declared an immediate mandatory evacuation of the Mynatt Park, Savage Gardens, East Foothills Road, Turkey Nest Road, Davenport and Ski Mountain areas.Evacuation centers were set up at the Gatlinburg Community Center and Rocky Top Sports World.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials reported fire activity at the Park Headquarters area and a spot fire between Elkmont and Newfound Gap Road off of the Sugarland Mountain Trail approximately 1 mile south of the Husky Gap Trail intersection. The park has closed the Gatlinburg Bypass and Little River Road from Sugarlands Visitor Center to Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area due to fire activity and downed trees. The park has evacuated employees from the Elkmont and Park Headquarters housing areas. The southbound lanes of the Spur from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg are also closed due to fire activity.

“It’s very dangerous weather conditions,” said Dana Soehn with the National Park Service. “We’ve had trees coming down, limbs coming down and the fire is continuing to grow.”

Evacuation centers were set up at the Gatlinburg Community Center and Rocky Top Sports World. Residences needing assistance with transportation can call the Gatlinburg Fire Department at 865-436-5181.

“Fire officials report that fallen trees have sparked multiple fires from fallen power lines,” said Cindy Ogle, city manager for the city of Gatlinburg. “Fire agencies from multiple agencies are responding to the area fires and I can’t express enough the city’s gratitude for the assistant with the National Park.”

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6:25 p.m.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials reported additional fire activity including the Park Headquarters area and a spot fire between Elkmont and Newfound Gap Road off of the Sugarland Mountain Trail approximately 1 mile south of the Husky Gap Trail intersection.

The park has closed the Gatlinburg Bypass and Little River Road from Sugarlands Visitor Center to Metcalf  Bottoms Picnic Area due to fire activity and downed trees. The park has evacuated employees from the Elkmont and Park Headquarters housing areas.

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3:36 p.m.

Gatlinburg Fire Department is going door-to-door asking residents to voluntarily evacuate to a Red Cross evacuation shelter set up at the Gatlinburg Community Center located at 156 Proffitt Road. Residents needing transportation may call the Gatlinburg Police Department at 865-436-5181.

The National Park Service reports more fire growth in the park over the next 8 hours with the potential for spot fires to form outside of the fire area. Gatlinburg Fire Department will continue to monitor the situation and the Tennessee Division of Forestry has staged equipment in the Mynatt Park community.

GATLINBURG (WATE) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park says fire conditions continue to change rapidly in the park.

A fire near the Chimney Tops has grown to 500 acres overnight due to extreme winds. Investigators believe the fire was caused by arson.

Monday morning the park service closed several roads and trails due to the wildfire.

“We predicted yesterday that we were between 10 acres whenever the day started and towards the end of the day we had about 50 acres in the evening,” said Dana Soehn with the National Park Service. “At some point overnight this fire blew up from 50 to 500 acres.”

Soehn said gusty winds are causing spot fires to pop up throughout the park. They’ve had fire across NewFound Gap Road to Balsam Mountain Ridge leading to Mount LeConte and near Twin Creek Picnic Pavilion off Cherokee Road.

All non-fire park service personnel have been evacuated from Twin Creeks Science Center. The park also evacuated back country campers.

“Right now we have about 30 people that we knew were in the back country that we have evacuated and given notices to via text messages and also are marking all the back country trails,” said Soehn.

Pi Beta Phi students in Gatlinburg were also moved to Rocky Top Sports World Complex Monday as a precaution due to the air quality advisory. The National Park Service issued an air quality alert because the conditions are unhealthy in the area and nearby locations in Sevier County.

Sunday, the park had four helicopters making water drops, but due to erratic winds and smoke cover, the helicopters were not able to go up Monday. Park rangers are hoping rain Monday evening will allow them to get up in the air Tuesday.

“The fire has been burning primarily in this deep duff layer, so it’s been between 6-12 inches, kind of a creeping back fire, but as these winds started to stir things up, it has topped out into some canopy trees and also into some dead hemlocks that we have standing throughout the park,” said Soehn. “At this point, we don’t have crews that can view things in the air to really give us a size-up of how much is in containment at this point, so we will be able to provide better information as our crews are able to report back in. ”

Fire crews are also watching embers from the fire. Soehn said there are no reports of structure fires as a result of the fire. She said crews are working hard to protect structures inside the park, near the Twin Creeks area and outside the park.

Gatlinburg Fire Department is also monitoring a fire in the Mynatt Park area, which is near Twin Creeks fire. The office of Sevier County EMA and the Red Cross is setting up a voluntary evacuation area at the Gatlinburg Community Center for anyone who would like to go there. The evacuation is not manditory.

The park is expecting 80 additional crews to arrive Tuesday morning to help with the fire. The fire is moving northeast and winds have caused the fire to spread to parts in the Chimney Tops and Bullhead Ridge areas. Crews say structures at LeConte Lodge or any place outside of the park’s boundaries (Gatlinburg, Pittman Center or Cosby facilities) are not in immediate danger.

Road closures include: NewFound Gap Road, Cherokee Orchard Road and Elkmont Access Road

Trails closed include: Chimney Tops, Road Prong, Huskey Gap, Sugarland Mountain, Rough Creek, Little River, Cucumber Gap, Jakes Creek, Miry Ridge, Goshen Prong, Old Sugarlands, Bullhead, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Brushy Mountain, Trillium Gap, Baskins Creek, Porters Creek and Grapeyard Ridge.

Campsites closed, include: 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, Mt. Le Conte shelter and Mt. Collins shelter.

Anyone with information on the origin of the fire is asked to call (865) 436-1580.

Rain impacts on fires, drought

The WATE 6 Storm Team is expecting rain Monday night, which should help moisten vegetation.

“It probably won’t put the fires out, but it will help the battle,” said WATE 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Matt Hinkin.

More rain is expected Wednesday, however the WATE 6 Storm Team says the rains are not likely to end the drought.

“The problem with this rain is too much too fast,” said WATE 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Trent Magill. “We will get heavy rain, but it will not end the drought by any means and will probably not end the fire concerns either.

There is a high wind advisory Monday night, which could actually spread the fire. Wind gusts are expected to be above 60 miles per hour, with stronger gusts.

 

 

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