National Guard helping fire evacuees, residents asked to stay off cell phones

WBIR's Russell Biven provides an update on wildfires. Video from 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29, 2016.

SEVIER COUNTY - State emergency responders and the National Guard are working together at this point to help the thousands affected by the devastating wildfires burning throughout Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountain Park.

Gov. Bill Haslam made the announcement on Tuesday morning as more than 14,000 were evacuated beginning Monday.

“TEMA encourages residents in Sevier County to stay off mobile devices, unless it is an emergency, to prevent outage,” the governor said.


He added:  “We will do all we can in the coming days and weeks to help these communities rebuild and recover. The state has worked with local officials to provide a coordinated, multi-agency response to help evacuate residents and visitors and contain the fires, and we are grateful to the emergency personnel who have worked tirelessly to help in these efforts.”


Haslam will travel to Gatlinburg on Tuesday afternoon for a briefing by fire and public safety officials.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he also is working with the governor’s office.

“This is heartbreaking news for the people of Sevier County and all who love the Smokies,” he said. “My staff and I are working with Gov. Haslam and local officials to make certain that there is maximum federal support to help fight the fires and deal with the consequences of the fires."


Photo Gallery: Wildfire spreads to Gatlinburg

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