Gatlinburg fires originated from Chimney Tops Trail fire in Great Smoky Mountains
Nashville, Tenn.--Officials with the National Park Service have stated early indications are the Gatlinburg fires stem from a man-made fire that originally started at the Chimney Tops Trail last Wednesday.
Dana Soehn with the National Parks Service says the fire at Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains was detected on Wednesday, November 23rd. That fire started creeping over steep, rocky terrain, originally consuming about 2-3 acres Soehn says. Located approximately 4-5 miles from Gatlinburg, the Chimney Tops Trail fire continued to spread after winds picked up on Sunday.
Soehn says four choppers were dumping water on the fires but NPS called for more assistance as gusts quickly spread the flames. By Monday, gusts carried the fires into Gatlinburg, leading to the current state of damage. The fires have now consumed 15,000 acres in the eastern part of the state.
On Wednesday, officials with Sevier County and the City of Gatlinburg confirmed a 4th death as a result of the fires.