wildfire

Marcus Obal, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Tennessee state officials say insurance claims have topped $842 million in the deadly wildfires that burned thousands of buildings in the eastern part of the state.

In eastern Tennessee, officials say a wildfire that tore through resort towns in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains earlier this week killed at least 13 people and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures, according to local officials and the state emergency management agency.

The confirmed death toll in and around the tourist town of Gatlinburg in Sevier County has climbed steadily since the fire raced into town overnight on Monday.

A Kentucky man is thankful that fire damage to the oldest hotel in Gatlinburg is manageable. 

NOTICE:  This story underwent revision with updated fire fatality information

Update: 4:50 p.m.

Authorities in Gatlinburg have now confirmed three fatalities related to the fast-moving wildfires that roared through the mountain town last night. No other information has been released about the deaths except that they were outside of the town of Gatlinburg.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Local officials rushed to get people out of towns as a wildfire raced into Tennessee's Sevier County on Monday evening.

At least three people were killed in the blaze, according to The Associated Press, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday morning that at least four people were taken to hospitals with burns.

Kentucky Division of Forestry

High temperatures and winds are complicating efforts at fighting ongoing wildfires across Kentucky but a weekend forecast of rain could provide some relief.

Kentucky Division of Forestry

Dry conditions and unseasonably warm temperatures have caused a rash of wildfires across Kentucky. Nearly 30,000 acres of forest and grassland have burned in the eastern half of the state.

Despite over 200 firefighters battling wildland fires in some eight Kentucky counties, the effort is expected to continue into next week.

State Division of Forestry Spokesman Mark Wiedewitsch says large fires in Pike County and the Pine Mountain area are contained.  But, he worries sun and wind could result in more new fires today.  Wiedewitsch says overnight rains helped only so much, “It really wasn’t enough.  To really make a dent in it, we really need a good inch or more.”

Photo: David Boyd, Sockeye Fire Information (Via Alaska Public Media)

Kentucky Division of Forestry firefighters are heading to Alaska to battle a number of wildfires.

The 16 full-time and 5 part-time firefighters will be joined by personnel from several federal agencies - including Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - forming two 20-person crews.

www.en.wikipedia.com

The fall wildfire hazard season has started in Kentucky. The season runs from October 1 through December 15. During that time, outdoor burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland.

State Forestry Division Director Leah MacSwords says that with the last several weeks of dry weather, conditions are favorable for the spread of wildfires.

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