GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A place that many Alabamians love dearly is in dire straits this morning.
Emergency officials in Tennessee say a wildfire has set 30 structures ablaze in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel, and is at the edge of the Dollywood theme park.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says in a news release Monday night that mandatory evacuations were underway for areas in and around Gatlinburg, including the south part of Pigeon Forge, where Dolly Parton’s theme park is.
Flener said strong afternoon winds fanned the wildfire on land in the great Smoky Mountains National Park to move quickly onto private property.
That fire is now burning 500 acres, CBS affiliate WDEF reported.
TEMA said no deaths have been reported.
The National Guard has been mobilized to Sevier County, CBS affiliate WVLT reported.
Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park issued an air quality advisory Monday. Fires are now in the Pittman Center, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg areas.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now closed, WVLT reported.
A representative with the park said the air quality is unhealthy for the Sevier County section of the park and adjacent areas, especially in the Gatlinburg area due to heavy smoke from the nearby Chimney 2 Fire. The Sevier County Humane Society said all animals are safe.