Dolly Parton calls for prayers as Tennessee fires threaten area near Dollywood
The city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – home to the Dollywood amusement park – is being threatened by wildfires.
The efforts to contain the blazes continued Friday, with helicopters dropping water on affected areas.
TENNESSEE WILDFIRE NOW 3K ACRES AND IS ONLY 5% CONTAINED, EVACUATIONS REMAIN PLACE
The Sevier County Fire Department said Friday that the Hatcher Mountain fire is 45% contained, with a total acreage of 3,739 acres.
The county's emergency management agency wrote Thursday that high winds in the area had knocked out power in Wears Valley for approximately 500 customers and 655 in the Gatlinburg-Sky Harbor area.
Outage tracker PowerOutage.US showed 1,240 without power on Friday afternoon.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said Thursday night that, as of 5:30 p.m. ET, the Hatcher Mountain Road and Indigo Lane Fire had been 30% contained, with crews working hotspots and 100 structures impacted.
WBIR reported Friday that Tennessee Forestry Division incident commander Bruce Miller said in a news conference that crews are in "control and mop-up status."
The cause of the Wears Valley fire is still unknown, but Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters told the station that no criminal activity is suspected at this point.
Miller reportedly said the Seymour wildfire – in the area of Millstone Gap Road and Cold Springs Hollow Road – covers 800 acres and is still 0% contained, with air support on standby.
New evacuations were issued Thursday and evacuations remain in place for both fires. Around 11,000 homes in the area have been evacuated and schools were closed Thursday as a precaution.
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No fatalities have been reported, WBIR noted, but one civilian and two firefighters suffered injuries.
Waters said no structures have been affected by the Seymour fire.
Firefighters from more than 70 agencies have responded to the blaze, with rain Thursday aiding efforts.
According to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the Wears Valley Fire sparked Wednesday, beginning as a brush fire in what the Agriculture Department described as steep and difficult terrain.
Waters said the conditions then were similar to those in 2016, when wildfires ravaged the tourism town of Gatlinburg and killed 14 people.
The fires in 2016 spared Dollywood, and country music legend Dolly Parton tweeted Thursday that she had been "keeping up with everything going on with the fires" near her home.
"It looks scary on TV, but I’m proud of how everyone in the area has pulled together like they always do. I’m especially proud of the brave men and women who are working to contain the fire," she said.
"I know there are some folks who have been affected, and I hope that you will join me in saying a prayer for them. During this time, I’ve also remained in touch with my people at @Dollywood who have assured me everything is okay there," Parton added.
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Multiple shelters have been established for evacuees and a website created for victims of the 2016 fires has been reactivated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.