Wednesday marks one month since devastating Sevier Co. fires
Wednesday marks one month since the spread of the fatal Sevier County wildfires.
High winds on Nov. 28 helped spread the fires, which eventually burned around 17,904 acres. The fires killed 14 people, caused nearly 200 illnesses or injuries and damaged around 2,460 structures.
The Chimney Tops 2 Fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park started as a small fire on Nov. 23, but eventually burned more than 17,140 acres. The Cobbly Nob fire burned 764 acres.
Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said 12 people died directly from the fires, and two people died while fleeing the fires.
Waters estimated the wildfires caused more than $500 million in damage to private and commercial properties.
County leaders published an interactive map to show which homes, structures and businesses were intact, damaged or destroyed by the fires.
Authorities have charged two juveniles with aggravated arson in connection to the Chimney Tops fire. Authorities did not release the names of the two charged because of their juvenile status.
District Attorney James Dunn said the two juveniles live in Tennessee, but are not from Sevier County.
When Dunn announced the arrests on Dec. 13, he said additional charges are possible, and there is the possibility of the juveniles being tried as adults.
The city of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park reopened on Dec. 9. It took some businesses – like the Park Vista Hotel and Ober Gatlinburg – a bit longer to reopen.
Dolly Parton and several other major country music stars teamed up for the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon on Dec. 13 to raise money for the Dollywood Foundation's "My People Fund," which provides assistance for families who lost their homes in the fires.
The telethon has raised more than $9 million to date.
Dozens of organizations helped victims, including the American Red Cross, Sevier County Rescue Squad and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency among others.
Recovery efforts are still underway, and far from over. Volunteer East Tennessee still needs thousands of volunteers to help with recovery and cleanup efforts. Two types of volunteers are currently needed - homeowner cleanup volunteers and distribution center volunteers.
Photo Gallery: Wildfire spreads to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge