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November 28, 2016

TEMA Update on Sevier County Wildfires, 11-28-16, 10 p.m., Central


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


HIGHLIGHTS

• This is a special Flash Report providing information and updates on a significant and ongoing wildfire threat impacting the City of Gatlinburg, City of Pigeon Forge, and other parts of Sevier County this evening.
• Evacuations are underway for Downtown Gatlinburg, and also Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mounty 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.


CURRENT SITUATION


Strong winds this afternoon (11/28/16) caused a wildland fire on Chimney Top Mountain, in the Smoky Mtn. 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 Mounty 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.


9-1-1 communications centers in the area report being inundated with calls about the situation.


Green and Sevier County schools will be closed on Tuesday. Cocke County schools run two hours late.


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.


RESPONSE ACTIVITIES


The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Nashville is open and operational, and TEMA coordination is ongoing through the SEOC with state and local partners involved in the Gatlinburg wildfire response. These partners include: the Tennessee departments of Agriculture and its Division of Forestry; Commerce and Insurance and the State Fire Marshal, Correction, Environment and Conservation, Health, Human Services, Military, and Transportation, and Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.


Tennessee’s Fire Mutual Aid system is coordinating the arrival of 50 to 60 fire apparatuses from local departments around from as far north as Greenville, Tenn. and as far south as McMinn County, Tenn.


Tennessee Department of Health is coordinating to send medical units from surrounding counties to assist with any medical transports.


A total of 1,200 people have sheltered at the Gatlinburg Community Center and at the Rocky Top Sport Park.


The Tennessee National Guard will be deploying personnel to Sevier County to assist with debris clearance and removal.


The Tennessee Highway Patrol is deploying strike teams to assist with evacuations and traffic control.


The Tennessee Department of Transportation has crews assisting with traffic control.


WEATHER


High-wind warning for Sevier County until the morning. Rainfall is approaching the area.


About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, TNDisasterInfo, on Twitter, @T_E_M_A, and at www.tnema.org.