Gatlinburg, TN wildfire forces mandatory evacuations
Wild fires are wreaking havoc on one of the largest tourist destinations in the South.
The Tennessean reports that several fires have been reported in Sevier County, Tennessee, including the areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other parts of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Winds of up to 60 miles an hour are keeping the fires burning. On Monday night, much of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge was evacuated. More than 12,000 people in the area are without power.
Although the fire has not yet spread to Dollywood, the popular Pigeon Forge amusement park owned by Dolly Parton, the property’s hotels and cabins have been evacuated.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken,” Parton said in a statement Tuesday. “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 and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared.”
While the fires continue to rage, Parton is preparing for a show on the “Pure and Simple” tour Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Tickets for the show are still available.
Also on Wednesday, Parton’s new Christmas special will be televised.
Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder and Gerald McRaney will co-star in the movie “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” which airs at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Parton will make an appearance in the film and she will also be one of the performers on NBC’s “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” which airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday.