A massive fire in Pigeon Forge, TN quickly spread due to dry weather and windy conditions on March 17, 2013. The Pigeon Forge fire was located roughly 3 miles away from the parkway in Pigeon Forge around Black Bear Cub Way off Lost Branch Road, near Wears Valley Road and engulfed cabins in Black Bear Ridge Resort and Trappers Ridge. The latest reports say that 59 homes were destroyed, 6 homes damaged, and 1 vehicle destroyed along with around 200 acres burned in Black Bear Ridge Resort.
This fire is one of the largest (if not the largest) fire ever recorded in Sevier County and Pigeon Forge was on high alert as winds picked up.
Authorities were advising everyone to stay away from Wears Valley Road as emergency personell used it heavily until the Pigeon Forge fire was contained.
Below are the major updates that took place for a look at how it all unfolded.
UPDATE: Monday, March 18 9:45am – Black Hawk helicopters have been flown in to assist in fighting the fire. Firefighters are being rotated out to provide rest and nourishment. Numerous fire departments from surrounding counties are assisting. No injuries have been reported as of this morning. Heavy rain is in the forecast beginning around 1pm. This fire is not at nor near Dollywood as various news stations have reported. There was a separate fire at Dollywood the night before this one began, but that fire was contained and much smaller as an estimated 10 acres burned.
UPDATE: Monday, March 18 10:28am – Local news WVLT’s Sharee Gilbert posted this photo from a helicopter this morning showing the latest conditions…numerous cabins destroyed, still smoking, but much less flames! The firefighters, volunteers, and everyone involved have been doing an amazing job. With rain heading in soon, we’re hopeful this fire in Pigeon Forge, TN is breathing its last breath!
UPDATE: Monday, March 18 12:17pm – Black Hawk helicopters are scooping water from The Sevierville Golf Club next to Wilderness at the Smokies Resort to fight the fires in Pigeon Forge, TN. WBIR out of Knoxville is reporting new estimates of 65 structures destroyed and 160 acres burned. Rain is VERY close and should provide relief very soon!UPDATE: Monday, March 18 12:27pm – Fire officials say this is what’s left of the cabin where the massive Pigeon Forge fire originated. Investigations are taking place to determine the exact cause. Once the cause is officially determined, we will update this post with the details.
UPDATE: Monday, March 18 1:00pm – Pigeon Forge Fire Department officials are calling the fire “contained” but not “controlled”, which means they are concerned mostly about the wind causing flare-ups. The rain is starting to roll in, which should help the fight the Pigeon Forge fire quite a bit. At this time, we’re optimistic and hopeful that the worst is over with. The current damage is 59 homes destroyed, 6 homes damaged, and 1 vehicle destroyed…still no injuries reported (amazingly).UPDATE: Monday, March 18 4:01pm – THE RAIN HAS ARRIVED!!!! The rain started pouring down just before 4:00pm and has helped – especially in hard-to-access areas that helicopters were attacking. The rain should help slow down new flare-ups and help firefighters get this Pigeon Forge fire under control.
UPDATE: Monday, March 18 6:55pm The fire has been reduced to just 5 acres burning as rain pours down and crews are finally getting to go home and get relief while mother nature takes over for a bit!
A crew of firefighters will return later tonight to monitor hot spots. The fire chief says he “feels good about the situation”.
FINAL UPDATE: Tuesday, March 19 8:00am State forestry spokesperson Tim Phelps says, “We have the fire 100% contained, and we are calling it 80% controlled.” Basically, the fire is practically “out” but there remains a few hotspots that the forestry service is managing and clearing out. Displaced property owners/renters are being escorted back to their cabins/homes to assess the damages. The fire is out, and now the cleanup begins.
DAMAGE TOTAL – Damage estimates were released stating that 53 buildings were completely destroyed, with an estimate damage of more than $11.3 million. Six other buildings had minor damage with $215,832 in damage. 14 buildings suffered light damage, totaling $263,680 in damage. Approximately 48 agencies responded, totaling nearly 270 responders.
Our immense gratitude goes out to the firefighters, emergency crews, law enforcement, first responders, volunteers, spouses, children, and everyone who made sacrifices to keep this fire from spreading more than it did. It was an amazing, coordinated effort by numerous individuals that we are extremely grateful for!
THANK YOU to all of you that have prayed, supported, commented, shared, and kept everyone involved in your thoughts. You all are fantastic and the support is felt! Please continue to keep all involved in your thoughts and prayers.
Location of the Pigeon Forge Fire
Many have asked where is the Pigeon Forge fire located and if the fire is near Dollywood, so here is a map showing the location of the fire, distance from the Pigeon Forge Parkway, and where Dollywood is located in relation to the fire:
Here is a link to Google maps with the exact location of the Pigeon Forge fire:
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