Rain To Help Exterminate Horton Fire, Wildfires Threaten Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge (2016-11-29 14:37:25)

Firefighters spent Monday patrolling the Horton Fire area looking for heat.

Local fire personnel patroled the fire perimeter with a thermal imager to identify any hot spots. The Horton Fire is still at 85% contained and 1,450 acres. Fire managers will reassess the containment percentage as a result of today’s rains. Up to two inches of rain are expected in the next through Wednesday. The much needed rain will likely exterminate much of the subsurface heat.

Wildfires from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park jumped US Highway 441 Monday and have burned a number of structures in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Tennessee. High winds ahead of a storm front whipped up wildfires burning in the Twins Creek and Chimney Tops areas of the Smokies Monday afternoon. Wind gusts topped 60 mph. 

By Monday afternoon, much of Sevier County, was smothered in smoke and soot. The wind took the fire out of the park, and during the evening, Gatlinburg and much of Pigeon Forge were evacuated. Evacuees gathered in the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge and Pigeon Forge Community Center.

The Dollywood theme park and its associated lodging were evacuated, but initial reports before midnight that structures were burning proved untrue. Tennessee Emergency Management Administration said 30 buildings were burning in Gatlinburg, including Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the Park Vista Hotel and Chalet Village North. Area schools have cancelled classes for today.

There are 12,509 people without power, and 1,200 people are being sheltered in Gatlinburg Community Center and Rocky Top Sports Park.