Over 14,000 people were evacuated from the popular tourist city Gatlinburg, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood, the theme park owned by Dolly Parton. The fire ravaged through the city overnight and was made worse thanks to ravaging winds. Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said Tuesday that the worst is over, but the fire is not completely out.
"This is a fire for the history books. The likes of this has never been seen here. But the worst is definitely over with," Miller told the media, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports
. He said that there were still about 14 buildings ablaze in Gatlingburg. Over 200 firefighters from around Tennessee are on their way and the Tennessee National Guard has been helping out by dumping water on the flames. Several people have been reported missing
since the fire broke out.
Later, The News Sentinel reported
that Sevier County officials confirmed that at least three people have died because of the fires. By Friday morning,, the number of deaths grew
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said the wildfire was
the "largest fire" the state has seen in 100 years.
The fire spread thanks to wind speeds reaching 80 mph Monday night. CNN reports
that investigators believe that it was "human caused," but the investigation is ongoing. National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn did not provide further details Wednesday afternoon.
By December 4, rain began dampening
some of the fires in the area.
The above image was shared on Twitter by @raisinlyn
, who said that her parents took the photos from their hotel. (Twitter/Raisnlyn