Gatlinburg Tennessee just experienced a major disaster recently. The damage there is just so breath taking and it is a very chilling scene. It is a good example of why one should be very careful with fire. There was a wildfire that ravaged much of the town. Over half a billion dollars in property damages was done to many of the businesses in the area and many homes were destroyed. There were several people who lost their lives during this tragedy as well. One guy left his home and his wife and daughters to drive down to see what was going on.
While he was gone, he got a distressing phone call from his wife. It seemed the fire was consuming every house and structure in his neighborhood and she was scare and did not know what to do. By the time he was able to get back home his home was gone and his family was nowhere to be found. This is just one example of the death toll that unfortunately affected the area. There were many other tragic deaths as well. Over one hundred homes and structures were destroyed as well causing economic crisis for businesses so close to the holidays which is one of the busiest times of years for the shops and attractions which depend upon it.
There is a zoo in the town where the workers were told to evacuate but due to the love and the responsibility that some of the employees felt for the animals many of them stayed behind. One very big negative impacts of this wildfire is the effect it has had on the wildlife in this mountainous region. There are many species of wildlife that call this area home and they were driven out. Even the black bears were driven out of hibernation and confused and dazed wandering around even in the wide open. It is very unusual to even see the bears around during this time of year and it is actually become dangerous as they are likely to get to use to being around humans since their habitat has suddenly become so altered.
This is very sad and there is actually some funds that have been set up for the wildlife. They are selling shirts and the whole community is coming together to help with all the efforts. It came to be that the fire was initially set by two teens who had been walking in the woods. These teens were playing with matches and lighting and throwing them which caused a small fire that over the course of a few hours ended up turning into a tragic event that this town would never forget. There was a lot of wind that day so it was a recipe for a disaster for sure. The small fire accompanied along with the high wind created an inferno by that evening and the whole landscape would change within a day or two.
The saving grace may have been the fact that the area did experience some heavy rain fall during this time which really helped fire crews in their extinguishing efforts. Had it not been for these rains this situation would have been much worse no doubt. As for the teens they were arrested in early December and charged with arson. They are currently awaiting trial and may very well likely be tried as adults. The sad part will be that their lives will be ruined and it is just as much their parents fault as it is theirs for not teaching them to know better. The town is currently in the process of rebuilding but the whole process could take years for things to get back to normal.