10Listens: Answers to wildfire questions

Hundreds of people are still asking questions about the deadly Sevier County wildfires that killed 14 people seven months ago.

There are some questions we are still trying to get officials to answer, but there are commonly asked questions we often see on social media that we do have answers for now.

Tara Mordell asked on Facebook: "Why did they not put the fire out in the beginning?"

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The National Park Service discovered a fire at Chimney Tops on Nov. 23, five days before it spread to into populated parts of Sevier County.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash told us in February-- due to the rocky and steep terrain of the chimneys, park officials decided to contain the fire, instead of fighting it directly.

Cash said under normal circumstances, the containment approach they took would have worked, but strong winds changed the game.

"Look at how this fire progress, at the rate, the winds, I think if we would've had 1,000 fire fighters up there, we couldn't have stopped what was happening on that day, on the 28th, just because of the erratic winds, high winds, and it was skipping along the top of ridges, going towards Gatlinburg," said Cash on Feb. 3.

Maile Mendenhall asked: "What happened to the wildlife after the fire?"

UT science graduate students told us in May that while some bears did die, most stayed put.

"We didn't see a mass exodus of bears out of the fire area. Most of them, it looked like they kind of just hunkered down and waited it out. And that could be because it was a short event," said Jessica Giacomin, a graduate student who studies bear migration.

Other wildlife burrowed or escaped, state wildlife officials said.

Melissa Roberts Welch asked: "Is it true the juveniles can still be charged on the federal level?"

State prosecutors dropped criminal charges against two unidentified juveniles for starting the fires.

But the National Park Service said they are continuing to investigate alongside the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and will present the case to the U.S. Attorney.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee said they will review evidence in the case to determine "whether it is appropriate to seek approval from the Attorney General to prosecute juvenile offenders in federal court."