Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gatlinburg wildfires

Gatlinburg wildfires --- ===

November 29, 2016  Gatlinburg wildfires National Park Service spokeswoman confirmed that fire that killed 3 and burned 15,000 acres in tourist town of Gatlinburg Tennessee were human caused.   Two unnamed juveniles who were filmed tossing lit matches and starting a fire were initially charged with aggravated arson in connection to the fires; however, charges were later dropped due to language in an agreement between the State of Tennessee and the Department of the Interior which excluded state jurisdiction from prosecuting criminal activities that occurred entirely within the park. Throughout the course of the investigation which revealed that many of the area fires were likely caused by downed power lines

While New York Times blamed the fire on human error, and there has been no direct evidence of a deliberate attack, internet chatter speculates if fire could have been inspired by calls by ISIS and Al Qaeda and Palestinians to set fire to Israel and the United States as terrorist attacks.


2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires - Wikipedia

fires were a complex of wildfires which began in late November 2016. Some of the towns most impacted were Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, both near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.[2] The fires claimed at least 14 lives,[3][4][5] injured 134,[6] and are one the largest natural disasters in the history of Tennessee.[7][8][9][10][11][12]
By December 12, the fires had burned more than 10,000 acres (15 square miles) inside the national park, and 6,000 acres in other parts of the area. At least 14,000 area residents and tourists were forced to evacuate, while over 2,000 buildings were damaged and/or destroyed.[4][6]
One of the largest wildfires was the Chimney Tops 2 Fire, which burned more than 10,000 acres, and closed the Chimney Tops Trail.[13]
The Great Smoky Mountains wildfires were the deadliest wildfires in the eastern U.S. since the Great Fires of 1947, which killed 16 people in Maine.[14][15] In addition, the fires were also the most deadly and destructive of the 2016 Southeastern United States wildfires. Local news outlets featured continuing live coverage of the situation.[16]


Chimney Tops, seen about 6 months after the fires with visible burn scars.
The Chimney Tops 2 Fire was originally reported on November 23, 2016. No suppression activities were initiated and on November 24, 2016 park fire officials delineated containment boundary made of natural features which were hoped to contain the fire. On November 27, while the fire was still inside the containment boundary, three Chinook helicopter dumped water on the fire in an effort to mitigate its spread. Humidity values for this day dropped to as low as 17 percent during a period of "Exceptional" drought. A National Weather Service report issued on Sunday predicted wind gusts up to 40 mph the following day. On November 28, park employees observed that the fire had spread to the Chimneys Picnic Area north of and outside the containment boundary. Shortly thereafter fire was reported some distance further to the North in the park behind a residential area known as Mynatt Park. Throughout the afternoon and evening of November 28, numerous fires developed in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Areas as a result of wind-driven sparks or downed power lines. A separate named fire destroyed much of the Cobbly Nob subdivision east of Gatlinburg. [17] Winds as high as 87 mph knocked down trees, which in turn started fires when they hit power lines. Because of power outages to some pumping stations on November 28 and because other pumping stations burned, hydrants quickly went dry on November 28, and Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller first asked for help from all of Sevier County and later from the entire state.[18] Damage from the fires also prevented firefighters from communicating with each other through cell phones as the radio system became overloaded. Gatlinburg's emergency operations center phone system went down when it lost power. Even the 911 system could not handle all the calls it received, and calls intended for Sevier County went to Putnam County instead.[19]

Investigation and arrests[edit]

Two unnamed juveniles were initially charged with aggravated arson in connection to the fires; however, charges were later dropped due to language in an agreement between the State of Tennessee and the Department of the Interior which excluded state jurisdiction from prosecuting criminal activities that occurred entirely within the park.[1][20][21] Throughout the course of the investigation which revealed that many of the area fires were likely caused by downed power lines, local officials declined to release any information about the fires or response, citing an erroneous interpretation of a gag order.[22]


Then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with the great people of Tennessee during these terrible wildfires. Stay safe!"[23][24]
Governor Bill Haslam viewed the fires from above, and said it was "a little numbing" to see the extent of the damage. Noting that the region is a "special place" in Tennessee, he said "millions have (sic) families have come here and will continue to come here."[25]
Commenting on the devastation, country music star Dolly Parton (originally from Sevierville) said she was "heartbroken". Her theme park, Dollywood (in Pigeon Forge), was largely spared from damage.[26]


A telethon, benefiting fire victims, was held December 9, in Nashville. Musician and singer Kenny Chesney organized the event, which featured country music artists such as Brad PaisleyJohn RichJohn Oates, and Kristian Bush, and Dolly Parton.[27] $9 million was raised.[28]
Parton hosted another telethon Tuesday, December 13, also in Nashville. All of the proceeds raised went to help those who lost their homes in the wildfires.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b "Two juveniles charged with arson in deadly Tennessee fire". WLWT 5. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  2. Jump up^ "Gaitlinburg sees wildfire sweep through Tennessee town that's next to Dollywood | Daily Mail Online". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  3. Jump up^ Carr, Ada (December 4, 2016). "Gatlinburg Residents Get First Look at Destruction Left Behind By Wildfire | The Weather Channel". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b "Death toll from Tennessee wildfires increases to 11 | Daily Mail Online". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  5. Jump up^ "The Latest: Death toll from wildfires increases to 14". December 4, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b CNN, Rolando Zenteno, Jason Hanna and Madison Park. "Death toll in Sevier County still rising".
  7. Jump up^ Laila Kearney and Dan Whitcomb. "Great Smoky Mountains fires leave three dead, 'scene of destruction' | Reuters". Retrieved December 4,2016.
  8. Jump up^ "Fires Near Smoky Mountains Prompt Mandatory Evacuations in Tennessee | NBC New York". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  9. Jump up^ Bracken, Matt (November 29, 2016). "Gatlinburg evacuated after Great Smoky Mountains National Park fire". Retrieved December 5,2016.
  10. Jump up^ "Slideshow: Great Smoky Mountain Wildfires | Fox News". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  11. Jump up^ "Death toll rises to seven in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains fires | The Gazette". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  12. Jump up^ "Gatlinburg wildfires: Thousands evacuated from Smoky Mountains resort".
  13. Jump up^ Chavez, K (November 28, 2016). "US 441 in Smokies, trails close for 500-acre fire". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  14. Jump up^ "Worts U.S. Forest Fires". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  15. Jump up^ Butler, Joyce; Parent, Tom. "When Maine Burned: Remembering 50 Years Ago". Firehouse. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  16. Jump up^ "Live coverage: Sevier County wildfire disaster". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  17. Jump up^ "Analyzing the fire that burned into Gatlinburg". Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  18. Jump up^ Jacobs, Don (February 19, 2017). "Firefighters raced to Gatlinburg, only to find some hydrants were running dry". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved March 23,2017.
  19. Jump up^ Lakin, Matt; Jacobs, Don (August 9, 2017). "Gatlinburg wildfire records tell story of chaos, confusion". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  20. Jump up^ "Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that left 14 people dead".
  21. Jump up^ "Attorney: Arson charges against teens in fatal Gatlinburg wildfire dropped". The Knoxville News Sentinel. June 30, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  22. Jump up^ "Judge issues order allowing release of some records in Gatlinburg wildfires". Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  23. Jump up^ "Donald Trump Tweets About Tennessee Wildfires".
  24. Jump up^ Searles, Kaylin. "President-elect Donald Trump's 'thoughts and prayers' with TN amid wildfires".
  25. Jump up^ CNN, Jason Hanna, Artemis Moshtaghian, Madison Park, Darran Simon. "Gatlinburg, TN residents escape 'firestorm'".
  26. Jump up^ Buncombe, Andrew (November 29, 2016). "Gatlinburg fires: Dolly Parton's resort under threat as hundreds flee Tennessee wildfires | The Independent". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  27. Jump up^ "Nashville TV station airing live star-filled telethon for Gatlinburg victims".
  28. Jump up^ Ahillen, Steve (May 26, 2017). "6 months after wildfire, Gatlinburg area getting back on its feet". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  29. Jump up^ "Dolly Parton Is Hosting a Telethon to Help Tennessee Wildfire Victims". December 5, 2016.


Gatlinburg wildfire: Charges dropped against 2 teens |
Jun 30, 2017 - The announcement is the first news related the teens since their arrests last year. The two had been charged with aggravated arson on Dec. 7, about two weeks after a fire in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park spread to neighboring communities, killing 14 people, destroying more than 2,000 homes ...

boys were hiking on the Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Nov. 23 and tossing lit matches onto the ground around the trail. Brush caught fire

Arson charges dropped against teens in Gatlinburg wildfire case ...
Jul 1, 2017 - RELATED: 2 teens arrested in Tennessee wildfires, officials say. Isaacs, who represents the younger boy, added that state prosecutors didn't have the authority to charge the pair in the first place. The boys were hiking on the Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Nov. 23 and ... Defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs said the state can't prove that the horseplay of the boys, ages 17 and 15, that sparked a fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park caused the deadly wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tenn., five days later.   "My client and the other juvenile, based on the proof and the evidence, did not cause the death and devastation in Gatlinburg," ... boys were hiking on the Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Nov. 23 and tossing lit matches onto the ground around the trail. Brush caught fire. The boys continued hiking down the trail. A fellow hiker with a Go-Pro happened to catch footage of them with smoke in the background. He didn’t know it was important....  Park officials decided to let the fire burn. Five days later, winds of nearly 90 mph whipped up, spreading deadly flames into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The emergency response was fretted with flaws, including the failure to warn residents and delayed evacuations. The fire would eventually encompass more than 17,000 acres, or 26.6 square miles, killing 14 people, hurt nearly 200 more and burn more than 2,400 buildings — at the height of Sevier County’s winter tourism season.  "Our firm’s independent investigation revealed (what happened on the Chimney Tops trail) did not cause the Gatlinburg fires beyond a reasonable doubt,"

Four teens arrested in connection with Gilroy wildfire
Sep 7, 2017 - Police have arrested four teenagers in connection with the Ballybunion Fire in Gilroy, which has burned 100 acres near a golf course community.
'Human caused' wildfires kill four in Tennessee near Dollywood park Gatlinburg, a city of just 3,944 residents that draws more than 11 million visitors a year.

Investigators: Gatlinburg wildfires were 'human caused' – TheBlaze  The fires that have killed three people and burned nearly 15,000 acres in Gatlinburg, Tennessee were “human caused,” National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn confirmed Tuesday evening. On Monday, strong winds and dry weather conditions caused the fires to spread much more rapidly than anticipated.

Investigators: Gatlinburg wildfires were 'human caused' - Wild speculation that Muslim Terrorism said "Possible" were “human caused,” National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn confirmed Tuesday evening.  AL QAIDA CALLED FOR DELIBERATE FOREST FIRES  'Inspire', are graphic instructions for the creation and ignition of 'ember bombs' 'It is of your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb', the magazine encourages any would-be terrorist to target Montana, because of the rapid population growth in its wooded areas. 'In America, there are more houses built in the countryside than in the cities,' explained the writer 'It is difficult to choose a better place than in the valleys of Montana.'  Reveling in the unsubstantiated claim that forest fires in Australia in December 2002, unleashed a heat energy equal to that of 23 nuclear bombs, the new edition of 'Inspire' wants the same destructive force unleashed on America.

Gatlinburg Wildfires Started by Human Error Force Evacuations: New York Times Three people died and 14 were injured as high winds and a drought fueled wildfires in ... Flames surrounded Gatlinburg, Tenn., as a wildfire burned in and near the ... The fires, the result of human error, started in Great Smoky ...

Tennessee Wildfires Kill 3, Destroy Hundreds of Structures; Original ...
Three people were killed in raging wildfires in Sevier County, Tennessee, ... GatlinburgFire Chief Greg Miller said Tuesday that the three people were killed in ... of Structures; Original Blaze Appears to Be 'Human-Caused'.

Gatlinburg Tennessee Fire Cause: No Evidence but Internet suspects Terrorism or ISIS? |
On social media, some people are wondering: Is it possible that terrorists or ISIS are behind the raging fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee? There is no evidence at all that terrorists or ISIS are behind the Gatlinburg fire, and authorities have not said as much. No terrorist organizations have claimed any responsibility, either.  However, there is evidence that Islamic terrorists and Jihadists may have turned to or advocated for arson fire as a general method of terror. The hashtags #FireJihad and #ForestJihad are starting to take off on Twitter. In Israel, a series of fires in recent days is considered possible terrorism.