wildfire

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.

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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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From NPR:  Californian Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill that clears a path for self-driving cars to become street legal, but obstacles still remain for the robotic vehicles.

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Officials with the Kentucky Division of Forestry say this summer’s lack of rain, along with tornadoes that have knocked down trees have created the conditions for a potentially bad wildfire season.  The recent drought has dried out state forests in the Commonwealth, and fallen trees and limbs means there’s plenty of fuel for wildfires.  State forester Leah MacSwords says this could lead to an active fire season and be dangerous for firefighters.  She says people should take extra precautions and watch out for forest arson, the leading cause of Kentucky’s wildfires.  This fall’s fire season

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