TENNESSEE: #TEMA Update: Wildfires destroy over 1,000 homes as people are evacuated from the area of GATLINBURG city and report of it being linked to arson – @AceNewsServices

#AceNewsReport – Nov.29: TEMA Update: Wildfires destroy many Gatlinburg resorts, 4 seriously burned

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WTVC) – Tuesday’s update from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) brings grim news for Sevier County and anyone who’s been a tourist there recently.

#TEMA says three people with severe burns were transferred form University of Tennessee’s Knoxville (UTK) hospital to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville overnight. A fourth with burns to their face continues to be evaluated at UTK. Currently, there are no reports of fatalities.

#TEMA says Sevier County Emergency Management Agency personnel have conducted some very preliminary surveys of damaged areas and estimates that hundreds of structures are lost; Westgate Resorts is likely entirely gone (more than 100 buildings), Black Bear Falls has likely lost every single cabin, Ober Gatlinburg reportedly is entirely destroyed.

However, Ober Gatlinburg posted a video on Facebook saying “our property is okay:”

In another post, Ober Gatlinburg says it will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

#TEMA says numerous roads remain closed and blocked by fallen trees and power lines. State Hwy. 441 heading into Gatlinburg is closed, except for emergency traffic. State Hwy. 441 leaving Gatlinburg is open to evacuating traffic.

#TEMA says 11,595 customers don’t have power as of Tuesday morning. Thousands of residents and visitors were evacuated overnight in Sevier County.

Numerous roads remain closed and blocked by fallen trees and power lines. State Hwy. 441 heading into Gatlinburg is closed, except for emergency traffic. State Hwy. 441 leaving Gatlinburg is open to evacuating traffic.

Hundreds of firefighters, and local and state personnel, directly responding to the wildfire situation or coordinating to help those who are. Those include several firefighters from the NewsChannel 9 viewing area, including Chattanooga firefighters and firefighters with the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department.

#TEMA says the Chimney Top Fire, which began in the Great Smoky Mountains, spread very rapidly yesterday evening as high winds pushed flames onto private property.

Even with the rain that is currently falling there, #TEMA says the fires continue to burn and structures remain engulfed with little hope that the rainfall will bring immediate relief.

#TEMA says a temporary flight restriction is in place to prevent aircraft from complicating the response.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to the fires.

This is a developing story. Depend on us for updates as we get them.

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