Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park view one of the many wildfires burning in the park. High winds and drought conditions have caused wildfires to consume parkland and to endanger people in nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (home to Dollywood).
(Courtesy NPS Photo)
Wildfires have devastated some of Tennessee’s most popular travel destinations.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to the intense and unpredictable fires, which are the result of what firefighters are characterizing as a “perfect storm” of drought and high winds gusting up to 70 mph. The town of Gatlinburg has been evacuated, with approximately 14,000 people hitting the road ahead of flames and dangerously thick smoke; residents and visitors in Pigeon Forge, home to the Dollywood theme park, are also leaving the area. At Dollywood, staff evacuated park cabins and the DreamMore Resort, with local county school buses providing emergency transportation.