Tennessee Fires Kill 3 While Burning About 15,000 Acres with 80 MPH Winds


CNN’s Brian Todd is on the ground in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where wildfires have devastated the popular resort town (Ripley’s Aquarium has 10,000 to 11,000 animals).

Wildfires killed three people in Sevier County, Tennessee, while scorching about 15,000 acres. Embers were flying in winds as high as 83 mph, starting fires up to a mile away from existing fires. People were evacuated from their homes and from resort hotels. At least 14 people were reported injured late Tuesday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing persons in the areas affected by the recent wildfires in East Tennessee. Those wishing to report missing persons believed to be in the affected areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley may contact 1-800-TBI-FIND.

The wildfires, which started Monday, damaged or destroyed more than 250 buildings in and near the eastern Tennessee’s resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. As of early Wednesday, the fires did not destroy Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg or Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Much of the severe fire was in between the two Tennessee attraction locations.

As of Wednesday morning 11:00 a.m. ET there were no tweets, Facebook posts or news releases about Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.

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