Wildfire Destroys Dozens of Cabins
(CNN) — A fast-moving wildfire consumed more than 200 acres and engulfed dozens of mountain homes outside the resort town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, threatening visitors and locals alike.
In addition to more than 20 local fire departments, the National Guard was expected to fly in two helicopters on Monday to help tame the flames.
The help is badly needed, according to Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson.
“You gotta understand, it jumped across a road, several roads, and now it’s racing up a hill,” Watson told CNN affiliate WBIR-TV.
Pigeon Forge, located in eastern Tennessee is best known for singer Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, which was not affected by the fire.
Positioned on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, the area also is popular with the outdoors crowd and has a wide variety of other attractions, including music theaters, outlet malls, go-kart tracks and mini-golf courses.
The fire started about 5 p.m. ET Sunday and quickly spread, charring more than 30 cabins and turning propane tanks into shrapnel.
“Propane tanks have been exploding,” Watson said. “It’s been a real dangerous.”
Now at 230 acres, the blaze started as a house fire, according to Watson.
“It looks like somebody just went through there and just dropped a bomb on the place,” Shannon McCostlin told affiliate WATE-TV. “I feel bad for them people.”
The area is home to rental cabins with some permanent residences.
While the state Emergency Management Agency had not received reports of casualties, the fire prompted the evacuation of about 150 people.
The American Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the Pigeon Forge Community Center for people displaced by the fire.