On Nov. 28, 2016, the unthinkable happened. A human-set wildfire on a remote, rocky mountain called Chimney Top in Great Smoky Mountains National Park began what can only be described as an unprecedented northward race that lasted several hours but covered 5.5 miles, until eventually reaching the border of the national park.
Unfortunately, this particular portion of the park border happened to be occupied by the scenic mountain village and well-known tourist destination and ski resort of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Beginning at 5 p.m., the wildfire marched uncontrolled through and around Gatlinburg, burning more than 1,700 structures, including private residences, businesses, resorts and churches.
But the wildfire did not stop in Gatlinburg. [Read more…]