Terrible fires near my former home. Drought plus wind equals badness.
A calamitous and deadly wildfire engulfed two tourist towns near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with much of the surrounding timberlands, destroying more than 150 homes and businesses, displacing thousands of residents and visitors and shutting down one of the nation’s most popular natural attractions.
The fire has killed at least three people and injured at least 14 others, officials said Tuesday. The victims have not yet been identified.
Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout Sevier County as dusk arrived in the charred, smoke-choked mountains, but some areas remained unreachable, authorities said late Tuesday afternoon.
The blaze forced more than 14,000 people to flee the area and left “in excess of 150″ buildings in ruin, officials said.