UPDATE: 4 dead, 45 in hospitals after wildfires in Gatlinburg

GATLINBURG, TN (WSPA/AP) – Four people have died and 45 were taken to hospitals after wildfires in Sevier County.

Three of the people who died were found in the North Chalet Village area. The fourth person was found Wednesday in a roadside motel.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has said it is the largest fire in 100 years in the state.

Thousands were forced to evacuate. Officials said more than 2,000 people spent Monday night in shelters in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and over 150 buildings in Sevier County were damaged or destroyed.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries Tuesday night, officials said.

Officials said that there were eight new fires over the night. Most were brush fires from high winds. Trees continue to fall and take down power lines. Meanwhile, crews are working to clear debris and make roads more accessible. Their work was made more difficult by small landslides and rockslides.

Around 300 people are being brought in to help with destruction left by the wildfires.

Red Cross is working to provide shelter to 300 people first and assist other agencies in distributing water and food. Red Cross asked that people “pause” in bringing the water and food donations at this time so they can calculate what they need.

Officials have not been able to assess the damage by air yet because of the weather so they can’t get a total number of acreage burned.

People who want to help are urged to visit the Gatlinburg area, which attracts millions of visitors each year.

City of Gatlinburg officials asked customers Wednesday  to conserve water. Firefighting activities combined with water loss from burned structures has placed high demand on city resources. Water quality might have been compromised so customers need to boil water for food prep and drinking

The Red Cross set up a donation center to distribute and receive goods.  It’s at New Hope Church of God 2450 Winfield Dunn Parkway Kodak, TN, 37764.  The phone number is (865) 932 4673.

 

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