Following a summer of scorching drought, wildfires have ravaged parts of the southeastern United States. Last month, a devastating fire burned out of control through Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Chimney 2 forest fire burns in the Smoky Mountains (Nov 2016)
From its starting point in the Great Smokies National Park, the fire exploded into an inferno fanned by strong winds. For days, hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. The Sevier County mayor called the combination of wind and dry tinder a “once-in-a-lifetime event…a perfect storm.” By the time they finally extinguished the fire, the charred landscape stretched across 17,500 acres. Fourteen people lost their lives, and nearly 200 were injured. Tens of thousands were forced to evacuate, and over 2400 homes and businesses were destroyed.