Pigeon Forge, TN — A house fire that broke out near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to burn, damaging over 30 additional structures throughout Monday and leading the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to declare a state of emergency. The blaze broke through containment earlier and continues to resist efforts to slow it down.
The fire has now consumed over 60 cabins, up from The Inquisitr’s earlier reports of 30. Some private homes have also been damaged by the blaze. Other private property remains in the line of fire.
The Los Angeles Times reports that two Black Hawk helicopters from the Tennessee National Guard joined the effort Monday and dumped massive amounts of water onto the blaze from above. While rain has yet to offer any help, heavy winds have threatened to ground the helicopters.
Around 100 firefighters from 30 different departments have fought the fire. The fire reached a maximum size of 300 acres on Sunday but was decreased to 145 acres Monday. Crews hoped that rain predicted for Monday afternoon would help to stall the fire, which did not happen. They continue to hope for the rain that is predicted to fall overnight.
Pigeon Forge is a resort city in a heavily forested and mountainous area of eastern Tennessee. The city is home to Dollywood, a popular theme park co-owned by Dolly Parton. While Dollywood is not threatened by the Pigeon Forge fire, the Associated Press reports that a separate brush fire took place at the park Saturday night. Firefighters fought the blaze until 11:30 pm that night and were able to prevent any property damage. Pete Owens, a park spokesperson, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that visitors who arrive at the park for its season opening next weekend may notice signs of fire on the adjacent hillside, but little else.
The fire ignited before the onset of Tennessee’s usual forest fire season in the spring and summer. Despite burning for over 24 hours now, no one has been hurt. On the other hand, up to 200 people have been displaced by the Pigeon Forge fire thus far.
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