Tennessee fire was ‘human-caused;’ 4 dead; what we know now


Rain moved into eastern Tennessee late Tuesday, helping firefighters put down a fire that has killed four people, destroyed more than 400 homes and businesses, charred 15,000 acres and caused the evacuation of more than 14,000 people.

The wildfire, which is located mainly in Sevier County, is believed to be the largest one in the state in more than 100 years. Officials say they believe it was not started by a lightning strike, but was 'human-caused.'

Here’s what we know about the fire so far:

• The original fire that sparked the dozen other blazes that have moved across southern Tennessee was "human-caused," National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn said.

• On Monday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 87 mph hit the area, spreading the fire before the region saw ¾ to 1 inch of rain overnight Tuesday.

• Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller has confirmed that the at least three of the four victims killed in the blaze died in separate incidents.

• Cabins on the grounds of the Dollywood theme park have burned, according to authorities, but the park has not been damaged.

• At least 30 buildings have burned in Gatlinburg.

• 50-60 firetrucks and heavy equipment have been sent to the fire zones.

• Between 100 and 125 members of the National Guard have been deployed.

• More than 200 firefighters from around the state are in the area fighting the fire.

• On Tuesday, a fire was reported near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park headquarters.

Sources: The Knoxville Sentinel; The Associated Press; USA Today; The Washington Post


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