Fourteen people have died and 134 people have been injured in wildfires raging throughout Tennessee.
Families, friends, and visitors all huddled together atop the Great Smoky Mountains as they watched their houses rapidly blaze with hot orange flames. The fires have destroyed over 1,600 structures, scorching homes, cabins, and churches. Many people who lived in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a town deeply affected by the fires, evacuated the area, realizing that the blaze would not spare their homes. Many returned to claim their property when the flames faded, but some came back to only ashes. Fire departments, police officers, and EMTs are working to clear downed power lines, trees, and rubble to look for any survivors and valuables that weren’t destroyed by the inferno.
“I heard on the news about the terrible raging flames in Tennessee, I hope everything gets recovered as soon as possible,” said WHHS student Alyssa Servidio. The people of Gatlinburg have a long road of healing and rebuilding ahead of them. They are bolstered by air and land assistance: 46 fire engines, six helicopters and five bulldozers, but it will take years for Gatlinburg, Tennessee to make a full recovery.