Tennessee Wildfires Burn 100 Homes, Force Thousands to Flee

The city of Gatlinburg and nearby communities has been evacuated.

ByJ.j. Gallagher
November 29, 2016, 5:16 AM

— -- Out-of-control wildfires have burned 100 homes and forced thousands to flee to safer ground around the city of Gatlinburg in eastern Tennessee.

The blazes intensified overnight into Tuesday, prompting officials to evacuate the city of 4,000. Residents streamed out of the area in search of shelter.

Dean Flener, a spokesperson with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, told ABC News that the wildfires reached “right on the doorstep” of the Dollywood theme park but that firefighting crews managed to stop the blazes from progressing into the park overnight.

In a 3 a.m. update on Tuesday, the TEMA confirmed that 100 homes have so far been impacted in Sevier County, including 10 in Gatlinburg and that 1,200 people were in a local shelter.

The agency called the fires "dangerous" and alerted residents to a "heavy layer of smoke settling in many areas of the county."

Downtown Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other parts of the county are under evacuation orders.

More than 12,500 people lost power and the fires are being blamed for one person being burned and other minor injuries.

The Tennessee National Guard has been called in to assist.

ABC News' Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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