Dollywood not damaged by wildfires, Aquarium ‘intact’

Courtesy: Dollywood
Courtesy: Dollywood

ATLANTA (AP) –  A county mayor in Tennessee says that an aquarium threatened by wildfires is intact and running on a generator.

At a news conference Tuesday, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was OK as of Tuesday morning. Workers there evacuated and have been worried about the more than 10,000 animals housed there.

Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller says 12 people have been injured in the wildfires in the Gatlinburg area, most with non-life-threatening injuries. He said they haven’t received any reports of missing people.

Miller said the fire spread Monday night by winds that at times exceeded 87 miles per hour.

Dollywood representatives say the theme park hasn’t been damaged by wildfires, but more than a dozen cabins operated by the park have been damaged or destroyed.

A news release says Dollywood made an assessment of the park early Tuesday morning. On Monday night, resort staff evacuated families staying in 50 rooms at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and in 19 of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins.

The release notes that Dollywood has suspended park operations at least through Wednesday, but DreamMore will be open on a limited basis as a shelter and for registered guests.

Also on Tuesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported that the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park and ski area is fine. The agency previously received reports that the facility was likely destroyed.

Preliminary surveys indicate that the fires have wiped out the more than 100 buildings of the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa.

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