November 29, 2016


Dolly Parton's Dollywood Partially Evacuated Amid Vicious Tennessee Wildfires

George Rose/Getty Images
George Rose/Getty Images

More than a dozen wildfires are burning through Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains National Park right now, with upwards of 14,000 people being evacuated from the town already. The Knoxville News Sentinel writes that hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed already, adding, "Despite rain and scores of firefighters battling the blaze, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency saw 'little hope' of any relief soon."

USA Today writes that TEMA reports no fatalities, one burn injury, and "minor injuries because of a fire truck involved in an accident."

Dolly Parton's theme park, Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, is also under threat. The popular Tennessee institution, founded in 1986, has evacuated 19 Dollywood Cabins and all 50 rooms that were currently hosting guests at the DreamMore Resort. Nothing has been damaged and no one has been hurt so far. Here's Dollywood's statement:

On Facebook, Dollywood says it has "suspended park operation for Wednesday, November 30 and lodging is open on a limited basis. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and all those affected." A similar note on the park's website lets people interested in helping know they can donate to the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR adds that the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies was forced to leave 10,518 animals in its facility after an evacuation. "As long as we have fuel in our generators, that aquarium can run on its own," general manager Ryan DeSear says, adding that the building is undamaged and being monitored with live webcams.