The deadly wildfires that engulfed two popular tourist towns leading into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park left at least seven dead and hundreds of buildings damaged or destroyed, officials said Wednesday as the terrible toll of the Tennessee fires began to take focus.
At least 53 people were treated for injuries at hospitals, though their conditions were not known. The fires are estimated to have damaged or destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses — nearly half of them in the city of Gatlinburg.
Park Superintendent Cassius Cash said late Wednesday afternoon that the fire was “likely to be human-caused.”
Massive walls of flames spread down the mountains into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on Monday with shocking speed, said those who fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. Fires continued to burn throughout Sevier County on Tuesday, and multiple new blazes flared up overnight — most of them brush fires, officials said. READ MORE
A raging wildfire spread into downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Nov. 28 and 29. Onlookers and residents captured images of the leaping flames and smoke-filled skies as police issued evacuation orders. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
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