As most of you know, on Monday wildfires, which have been ravaging forests in Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina for the past month, spread rapidly toward the heavily populated tourist area of Gatlinburg, TN in Sevier County. Heavy 30-40 mph winds, gusting to 70- 80 mph, gave residents and officials little warning or time to escape. Social media is replete with harrowing videos of individuals desperately driving trying to escape the fires raging around them.
Mandatory evacuation was ordered in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and remains in place for Gatlinburg residents. At least 7 people have died and more than 700 buildings destroyed, 300 within the Gatlinburg city limits. This number will likely rise. Fortunately, rain this afternoon is helping firefighters battle to control the fires. Below is a briefing map shared by the night shift fire command with day shift fire command this morning. This map was obtained by wildfiretoday.com.
The USDA Forest Service and other governmental entities have excellent maps with up-to-date information on the location and size of wildfires. If you are worried about friends, family, property, favorite vacation spots, or the trees and wildlife of the forest, we highly recommend that you explore these government sites. You also should check out Wildfire Today.com. If you have any good maps to share, please do! We hope this is helpful and pray that you and your loved ones have remained out of harms way.
Helpful Fire Maps