See Footage of Horrifyingly Intense Tennessee Wildfires
A scorching wildfire tore through Gatlinburg, Tenn., forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes.
The blaze began Monday, although Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said things have started to calm down, despite the brutal nature of what hit the region:
This is a fire for the history books. The likes of this has never been seen here. But the worst is definitely over with."
Over 150 buildings were destroyed, while 14,000 people who live in the region had to leave. About 2,000 had to go to emergency shelters, while a dozen were treated for injuries. Three people have been confirmed dead.
As for what started the initial fire, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, "The blaze apparently began when embers from a wildfire on nearby Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park wafted into the Twin Creek and Mynatt park areas of town Monday around 6 p.m. as already heavy winds doubled in speed, the fire chief said. The resulting flames swept through Gatlinburg in less than a quarter-hour, fanned by winds at speeds that topped 80 mph."
Video and images of the fires paint a frightening picture of the ferocity of the inferno