Dolly Parton’s theme park is evacuated over fire
Dolly Parton’s theme park had to be evacuated after a series of wildfires ripped through Tennessee on Monday (11.28.16).
The 70-year-old country legend is "heartbroken" that people have been forced to flee their homes in and around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, including her attraction Dollywood, after firefighters risked their lives to battle 14 vicious blazes last night.
She told People.com: "I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe."
An assessment of the damage to the park was carried out on Tuesday (11.29.16) and, although there was no serious harm caused to the attraction itself, more than a dozen cabins in Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain resort were destroyed.
Despite the damage caused to the resort, Dolly said: "It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared."
Dollywood will remain closed until Wednesday (11.30.16).
Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said: "Unpredicted, extreme weather conditions on Sunday afternoon through Monday led to the exponential spread of fires both inside and outside of the National Park.
"Severe wind gusts of over 80 mph, unprecedented low relative humidity, and extended drought conditions caused the fire burning in the National Park to spread rapidly and unpredictably, in spite of suppression efforts on Sunday that included helicopter water drops."
There have been no reported deaths as of yet, but it’s believed there are three people in a critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, suffering with burns.