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UPDATE: Downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee evacuated due to wildfires – 30 structures on fire

UPDATE 10:00 p.m. CT

From Tennesse Emergency Management Agency (TEMA):

Strong winds this afternoon (11/28/16) caused a wildland fire on Chimney Top Mountain, in the Smoky Mtn. National Park, to spread rapidly onto private property in the City of Gatlinburg, and in the City of Pigeon Forge.

Currently 30 structures are on fire in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive and the Driftwood Apartments reported fully-involved near the Park Vista Hotel.

Evacuations are underway for Downtown Gatlinburg, and also Mynatt Park, Park Vista and Ski Mounty in Gatlinburg, and for the south part of Pigeon Forge close to Sevierville. The wildfire is also at the edge of the Dollywood property.

Sevier County and Gatlinburg officials have established a command center at Gatlinburg City Hall.

Local officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for Mynatt Park, Park Vista, and Ski Mountain.  Evacuations have also been ordered for the north end of Pigeon Forge.

State Hwy. 441 heading into Gatlinburg is closed, except for emergency traffic.  State Hwy. 441 leaving Gatlinburg is open to evacuating traffic.

There are reports of downed power lines and trees, and reports of road closures, including Highway 441 being closed. 

9-1-1 communications centers in the area report being inundated with calls about the situation.

Sevier County and Cocke County schools will be closed on Tuesday.

There are no reports of fatalities.  There is a report of a report a burn injury to a male evacuee. There is also a report of minor injuries due to a fire truck involved in an accident.

EARLIER

WBIR-TV:

Wildfires driven by wind gusts are prompting the evacuations of multiple areas of Gatlinburg including downtown Gatlinburg, fire officials said Monday night.

Some areas of Pigeon Forge also are being evacuated including residents and guests located in the areas between traffic light 8 and the Spur, according to spokeswoman Trish McGee.

“Three county school buses are available for emergency transport and are being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate,” according to a statement from McGee.

National Park Service and Gatlinburg officials stressed the fire posed a serious threat that would not abate until rains came. 

WREG-TV:

Gatlinburg police had been going door to door in one neighborhood asking for voluntary evacuations.

But the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that as wind picked up and fallen trees sparked fires from downed lines, Gatlinburg fire officials declared a mandatory evacuation of a larger area.

Some park employees were also evacuating and some locations closed.

Video from the Park Vista Hotel showed flames roaring outside windows and the sounds of fire alarms could be heard.

https://twitter.com/JoshSmithWJHL/status/80343051063461478

https://twitter.com/NewMarketMauler/status/803420291506507776

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y0A6TpAez8

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