Wildfires Forcing Evacuations In Downtown Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

EVIER COUNTY - 9PM UPDATE: Wildfires driven by wind gusts are prompting the evacuations of multiple areas of Gatlinburg including downtown Gatlinburg, fire officials said Monday night.

Some areas of Pigeon Forge also are being evacuated including residents and guests located in the areas between traffic light 8 and the Spur, according to spokeswoman Trish McGee.

"Three county school buses are available for emergency transport and are being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate," according to a statement from McGee.

National Park Service and Gatlinburg officials stressed the fire posed a serious threat that would not abate until rains came.

"We urge the public to pray. We urge the public to stay off the highways. The traffic that is on the roads is emergency equipment. If (the public) could just stay home and stay tuned to their local media outlet," Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said at a 8:30 p.m. press conference.

In Gatlinburg, other areas under a mandatory evacuation include Mynatt Park Neighborhood, East Foothills Road, Turkey Nest Road and Davenport Road areas. The Savage Gardens areas also is under mandatory evacuation.

Police are going to the area to get people out. City officials urged everyone to get out.

Fire officials decided about 6 p.m. to impose the evacuation, according to Gatlinburg City Manager City Ogle.

To help with Pigeon Force evacuations, three county school buses were available for emergency transport and were being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate, according to a release from

The following locations are open and ready to receive those who need shelter: LeConte Center at Pigeon ForgePigeon Forge Community CenterLiberty Baptist Church in Wears Valley Iglesia Cristiana LaDuz De Jesus.

Sevier County Schools are closed Tuesday due to the fires, the school district said on its website.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: City of Gatlinburg officials have declared a mandatory evacuation of several areas in the city due to the threat of a nearby fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Mynatt Park Neighborhood, Savage Gardens, East Foothills Road, Turkey Nest Road and Davenport Road areas are included in the immediate mandatory evacuation. 

A Red Cross Evacuation Shelter has been set up at the Gatlinburg Community Center at 156 Proffitt Road. Residents needing transportation to the shelter may request assistance by calling the Gatlinburg Police Department at 865-436-5181.

Service animals are allowed at the evacuation shelter.

Gatlinburg Fire Department officials say the threat is from a spot fire in the Twin Creeks area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park combined with low humidity and windy conditions.

Fire officials said fallen trees have sparked multiple fires in Gatlinburg from downed power lines. Fire departments from multiple agencies are assisting.

The National Park Service notified the city around 11:45 a.m. that the Chimney Tops Trail fire created a new fire near Mynatt Park. The fire is still inside the national park, but the park service notified the city since it is near a residential area.

Smoke and ash from the fire have created poor visibility in Gatlinburg since Monday morning. 

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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