Wildfires Force Gatlinburg Evacuation

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A view of the Great Smoky Mountains from Bryson City, NC

Some of you may know that there are wildfires spreading across the Southern Appalachians. The fires began at the end of October, and have continued to spread throughout the month of November. The area has experienced extreme drought conditions since the summer months, which is contributing to the massive spread. Crews have been working day and night to quell the fires.

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Gatlinburg, Tennessee nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains

This morning Gatlinburg, Tennessee was evacuated as the fires closed in on homes and businesses. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently closed, and the area is engulfed in smoke. Gatlinburg is home to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and General Manager Ryan DeSear has announced that the animals are okay.

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Some of the 10,000+ animals that reside in Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

On this Giving Tuesday please consider the need for wildfire relief. The American Red Cross knows it is dangerous to travel to this area, and has asked that volunteers do not go to shelters to try to help. You can donate to the Red Cross’ efforts here and the Friends of the Smokies have set up an Emergency Fire Relief fund for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

You can view a live stream of news from Twitter on The Tenneseean.

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