Fourth death confirmed in Gatlinburg wildfires, 4 dozen injured


GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee mayor confirms a fourth death Wednesday after acres of wildfires that swept through the Great Smoky Mountains.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters also says nearly four dozen people had been injured in the fires.

The wildfires destroyed more than 150 buildings, including iconic homes and a resort. Other buildings and attractions remained largely intact, including the Dollywood amusement park in nearby Pigeon Forge.

In the tourist heavy town of Gatlinburg, more than 14,000 people were evacuated Monday night and throughout Tuesday.

Heavy rain fell early Wednesday, which is helping put out some of the wildfires, but officials say more than 200 firefighters are still out battling flames and hotspots.

Tod Hyslop, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Morristown, Tennessee, says the Gatlinburg area got about ¾ of an inch to 1 inch of rain overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says any rain will help, but the fires are still an “ongoing situation.

Wildfires have been burning for several weeks across the drought-stricken South, but Monday marks the first time homes and businesses were destroyed on a large scale.

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