Wildfires threaten Dollywood, Gatlinburg resorts

November 28, 2016, 10:39 PM · A series of wildfires burning in the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee is forcing evacuations in the popular resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the home of the Dollywood theme park.

Dollywood has evacuated several families staying the cabins and the DreamMore Resort on park property. And firefighters are in the park to protect it from the advancing flames.

The situation is more dire in the neighboring town of Gatlinburg, according to reports on social media. At least 30 structures are said to be on fire in the town, and a Facebook video reported to be from inside the Park Vista hotel is going viral.

Local authorities have ordered evacuations in Gatlinburg and Piegeon Forge and the National Guard has been deployed to provide assistance. Strong winds in the region are spreading the flames and hindering firefighting efforts. However, rain is on the way and expected to help knock down the fires.

Tuesday Update: More than 14,000 people have been evacuated from Gatlinburg, where several hotels and some attractions have burned. Authorities say that the Park View, Westgate Resorts, and Black Bear Falls cabins have been lost. However, most of the businesses on Gatlinburg's US 441 Parkway escaped damage.

Dollywood issued this statement about its status:

Wildfires in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains continue to affect several areas of Sevier County including Dollywood. An assessment this morning revealed no damage to the Dollywood park itself but more than a dozen cabins managed through Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins were damaged or destroyed.

As the cities continue to assess the damage and impact of the fires, Dollywood has suspended park operation for Wednesday, November 30. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort will be open on a limited basis for those in need and for registered guests. For current lodging reservation inquiries, please contact 1-800-DOLLYWOOD (1-800-365-5996).

And here is a second statement, released Tuesday afternoon:

“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe. It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort, Dixie Stampede and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared,” Dolly Parton said.

Thanks to the hard work by community firefighters and first responders, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is open to guests. The Dollywood theme park will resume normal operation on Friday, December 2 at 2 p.m.

Replies (2)

November 29, 2016 at 9:08 AM · Prayers and best wishes to all in harm's way
December 1, 2016 at 11:14 PM · For those who would like to assist Dollywood's efforts to help its neighbors who have been left homeless by the fires:

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