Gatlinburg wildfires in Tennessee ,devastation of biblical nature

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee,Nov30:Deadly wildfires ripped through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee on Monday night and Tuesday, forcing thousands to flee as emergency responders sought to contain a blaze that conjured biblical comparison.

“Everywhere you looked, there were fires everywhere. It was like driving into hell,” said Rain Moore, 32, a lieutenant with the Sneedville Fire Department, about an hour and a half away.

Mr. Moore said he arrived early Tuesday and, while fighting the fire in the darkness, saw orange flames burning from the center of trees, indicating a strong intensity.

Fueled by high winds and a drought in Tennessee, the fires damaged about 150 buildings and forced thousands to evacuate. Three people died and 14 others were injured, officials said Tuesday afternoon.

More than 14,000 people left Gatlinburg, and others were evacuated from nearby Pigeon Forge as well as other parts of Sevier County, in the eastern part of the state, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. More than 10,000 people had been left without power in Sevier County.

“This is the largest fire in the last hundred years of the state of Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Haslam said on Tuesday afternoon.

Dramatic videos shot by residents and shared online showed flames lining the edge of the highways used for evacuations.