Tennessee tourism town emerges from ashes of deadly, destructive wildfire

A wildfire consumes homes and businesses in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (CBSN)
A wildfire consumes homes and businesses in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (CBSN)

UPDATE:

10 A.M. — Rain is moving through a Tennessee tourism region ravaged by wildfires, but officials say there are still active fires in the area.

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.

He says rain will pick up midday Wednesday through the afternoon and taper off about 4 or 5 p.m. The system is moving slowly, which increases the chances of more rain.

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


(ORIGINAL STORY)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee tourist mecca is emerging from the smoke, charred and vacant.

During wildfires Monday night, many buildings in Gatlinburg were burned to their foundation. Hotel fire alarms eerily echoed through empty streets lined with burned out cars Tuesday evening.

Three people were killed. The fire destroyed at least 150 buildings, including iconic homes and a resort. Other buildings and attractions remained largely intact, including the Dollywood amusement park in nearby Pigeon Forge.

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.

Gatlinburg, a city that opens up to 11 million visitors annually, is facing a new reality. However, Mayor Mike Werner, who lost his home, says his town will pull together and recover.

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