Wildfire prompts evacuations in East Tennessee

Posted at 9:00 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 00:36:17-05

A mandatory evacuation was issued for downtown Gatlinburg in East Tennessee due to the intense wildfires sweeping the Smoky Mountains.

According to Local 8 News local schools have been canceled Tuesday, and officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park issued an air quality advisory Monday.

A representative with the park said the air quality is unhealthy for the Sevier County section of the park and adjacent areas, especially in the Gatlinburg area due to heavy smoke from the nearby Chimney 2 Fire.

The National Guard has been mobilized to Sevier County. 

Director of Sevier County's E-911 call center, Judy Tucker, around 9 p.m. said, "No one's getting through to anyone. Phones are ringing and not being answered anywhere. It's chaos."

National Park Service and Gatlinburg officials stressed the fire posed a serious threat that would not end until rains arrive. 

"We urge the public to pray. We urge the public to stay off the highways. The traffic that is on the roads is emergency equipment. If (the public) could just stay home and stay tuned to their local media outlet," said Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller. 

The fires have threatened multiple resorts, businesses and homes.