Firefighters are working to contain two wildfires that broke out Wednesday near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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Sevier County Wildfire
Credit: Courtesy of Sevier County Emergency Management Agency

A pair of wildfires near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevier County, Tennessee caused the evacuation of roughly 11,000 homes and damage to at least 100 structures over the past couple of days. 

According to the Sevier County Fire Department, the blazes began Wednesday around 11 a.m., when the department dispatched mutual aid to a brushfire at 2862 Indigo Lane. This marked the beginnings of the Hatcher Mountain Fire, which would grow to cover 3,739 acres and affect more than 100 structures. As of today, the fire is 45% contained. 

In a press conference, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters shared that two firefighters sustained minor injuries from the fire, but there were no reports of fatalities or missing people, calling the news "answered prayers". The Sevier County Fire Department reported the loss of one of their firetrucks—their only tanker apparatus—to the fire. 

"However, the more important part was that our member returned home to us unharmed," the department reported in a Facebook post. "Trucks are replaceable, people are not."

In addition to the Hatcher Mountain Fire, more than 200 fire personnel are also working to combat a second fire, called the Millstone Gap Fire, located in a remote area near the Blount County and Sevier County line. According to a post from the Sevier County Government Facebook page, that fire is approximately 800 acres and is 0% contained. 

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Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sevier County as they continue to battle these fires! Those who wish to contribute to recovery efforts can donate to the cause at mountaintough.org. Items accepted for donation include water, sports drinks, baby clothes, hygiene items, new clothes, and gift cards.