Two charged with starting Tennessee fires

Two juveniles have been arrested in Tennessee for allegedly starting the Chimney Tops 2 Fire, which ballooned to encompass more than 17,000 acres and led to the deaths of 14 people after hurricane-strength winds swept it through Gatlinburg and parts of Pigeon Forge Nov. 28.

After the fire

When hurricane-force winds met burning, bone-dry forest, the city of Gatlinburg transformed overnight on Nov. 28-29 from lively tourist town to panic-seared disaster area. Gusts clocking in as high as 87 miles per hours blew balls of fire down from the blaze’s origin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, catching residents and visitors by surprise in the days following Thanksgiving. People raced to evacuate, to escape the flames that threatened to consume the entire city.

Lucky to be alive: Gatlinburg men relive harrowing escape down fiery mountain

GATLINBURG — It started with an ember. 

One single ember, falling from the sky into Michael Luciano’s front yard in Chalet Village in Gatlinburg. 

A checkerboard of devastation: Fire levels some areas and leaves others untouched

GATLINBURG — Just before hitting the McDonald’s along U.S. 321 east of Gatlinburg on Dec. 2, traffic slows to a crawl. Then, to all but a stop. Hundreds of homeowners, business owners and residents line up in anxious anticipation as to what they’ll find when they finally make it through the checkpoint. An intact home, landscaped with magically unsinged shrubs? Or a pile of ash, nothing left except perhaps a few concrete steps leading to a nonexistent porch?

Where to go from here: Fire survivors wait and wonder in Red Cross shelter

GATLINBURG — Coaches and team jerseys were absent from Rocky Top Sports World Friday morning, but the sports-complex-turned-Red-Cross-shelter surged with activity as Dec. 2 began.

Rain quells wildfires across the region

It took mere hours for the Chimney Tops 2 Fire to escape the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and sweep down to engulf parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Monday, Nov. 28. But as wind fueled the roaring fire, rain was on its way. The first drops of precipitation fell late Monday night, continuing into a steady rain Tuesday morning. More rain came on Wednesday, and precipitation resumed Sunday, Dec. 4, with rain still falling as of press time Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Macon man admits to igniting small wildfires

A Franklin man is facing federal arson charges after admitting to setting fire to two separate areas in Macon County about a month ago.

As N.C. wildfires slacken, Smokies blaze roars into Gatlinburg

Just as wildfires were beginning to subside in North Carolina, gusty winds whipped a flare-up in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into a frenzy that climbed down the mountain to enter the town of Gatlinburg and spur forced evacuations around the area.

Containment rising, fire growth slowing in WNC

Despite gusty winds, dust-dry forests and interminable drought, firefighters made significant headway over the last week toward containing Western North Carolina’s explosive wildfire season, jumping on new starts to keep their acreages low and limiting existing fires to minimal acreage growth.

Firefighters battle 50-plus square miles of WNC wildfires

Western North Carolina is ablaze with 22 wildfires currently burning through more than 50 square miles in the seven most western counties. Smoke from the fires is posing health hazards while continued severe drought conditions are leaving many communities with a limited water supply.

Holding the line
Arson suspected in WNC fires
Fleeing fire
Local water supplies drying up
Wildfires torment residents, tourism
Dangerous smoke hazard persists throughout WNC

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