Gatlinburg area fires - Monday update
December 5, 2016
Incident Summary: The Chimney Tops 2 Fire was reported in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at approximately 5:20 p.m.The wildfire began burning in a remote location (Chimney Tops) of the park in steep terrain with vertical cliffs and narrow rocky ridges making access to the wildfire area difficult for firefighting efforts. On Monday, November 27th, the exceptional drought conditions and extreme winds caused the wildfire to grow rapidly, causing numerous new wildfire starts from embers carried miles away and downed powerlines in and adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wildfire was determined to be human-caused and is currently under investigation.
To date, there are 14 confirmed fatalities. Over 130 people sustained injuries, and 1684 structures have been damaged or destroyed.
Chimney Tops 2 and Cobbly Nob Fires' acreage did not increase yesterday, due to rain. This means there was no fire spread. Containment increased, which means the crews have made appreciable progress in establishing containment lines round the fire. These lines are needed to make sure the fire does not escape once the rain is past and drying conditions return. Despite the rain, heat still exists within the fire perimeter. Our goal is to make certain the containment lines are solid.
Start Date: Nov 23 Size: 17,006 Containment: 42%
Start Date: Nov 28 Size: 803 Containment: 53%
Incident Resources: 25 crews, 61 engines, 6 helicopters, 2 dozers, 780 total personnel
Widespread rain is predicted today and Tuesday, with temperatures dropping through the week.
Road and Trail Closure Status:
The National Park is closed from the Gatlinburg Entrance to Smokemont near Oconaluftee (US 441, Newfound Gap) and Little River Road from Sugarlands Visitor Center to Townsend. The Gatlinburg ByPass is also closed. There will be no access to Wiley Oakley or Westgate from the Spur.
The Spur between Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg is open from Pigeon Forge to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center. To access this area, it is important to follow check point protocols. There is only one check point access at East Parkway (Hwy. 321) at Glades Road and the Post Office. Be sure to bring valid forms of identification showing name and address of residence or business inside Gatlinburg. Officials will verify renters and lease holders, as needed.
Be vigilante while driving; emergency vehicles and personnel may be working in areas open to the public.
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