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November 29, 2016

TEMA Update on Sevier County Wildfires, 11-29-30, 2 a.m., Central


HIGHLIGHTS

• The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated tonight with numerous state and non-profit agencies coordinating resources to assist Sevier County’s wildfire response and to help in protecting lives and property.

• Wildfires still burning in Sevier County with heavy smoke beginning to settle in parts of the County.

• Sevier County residents can indicate their status with the American Red Cross at the organizations Safe and Well website: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

• Residents can also use Facebook’s Safety Check to indicate their status: https://www.facebook.com/about/safetycheck/


CURRENT SITUATION

Dangerous wildfires are still having an impact in Sevier County as local officials ordered evacuations for downtown Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other parts of the county.


Fire crews are still battling blazes in Sevier County as a heavy layer of smoke settles in many areas of the county.


The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency this evening to secure a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for the Chimney Top Mountain fire, which caused the wildfire outbreak in Sevier County.


Sevier County officials currently estimate about 100 homes impacted in the county with 10 homes impacted in Gatlinburg from the fire.


Approximately 30 structures have been impacted in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive and the Driftwood Apartments reported fully-involved near the Park Vista Hotel.


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


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


FATALITIES & INJURIES
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.


POWER OUTAGES
Sevier County reports 12,509 people without power.


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


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.


The Tennessee National Guard is in the process of mobilizing 100 personnel from East Tennessee to assist Sevier County with transporting 1st responders, removing light debris, and assisting with welfare checks.


The Tennessee Department of Transportation is securing fuel resources and equipment to assist in replenishing diesel fuel for firefighters and first responders’ vehicles.


The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is identifying lodging resources to assist those displaced by the wildfires.


TEMA logistics and the Tennessee Department of General Services is working to secure a gasoline tanker for fuel.


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.


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


WEATHER

High-wind warning for Sevier County until the morning. Rain is also in the forecast for the area for the next few days.


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.


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.