The fire review team from the National Park Service is now in Sevier County to analyze how officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park handled November's deadly wildfire.
The fire started on the Chimney Tops trail within the park on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Review team members will be looking at decisions park officials made between then and when the fire barreled into downtown Gatlinburg and became deadly five days later.
Darlene Verito and her family lost their Gatlinburg home in the wildfires and nearly lost their lives.
"The nightmares are just horrible. They're horrible," she told WBIR 10News Tuesday, recalling that night. "That sticks with you, you know, him having to move trees on fire to get out of our way so we can get down that mountain. I relive it every day."
As the National Park Service's fire review team begins its work, Verito has questions.
"I'm sure you knew that this weather was picking up and the wind was picking up. Why didn't you try harder to put it out?" she asked.
"We'll be able to answer that," team leader Joe Stutler said, when 10News relayed Verito's question.
Stutler, a senior advisor for Deschutes County, Ore., said the report will answer some questions but others he can answer now.
"Did you let it continue to be a controlled burn, which is what we've been told, that just got out of hand?" Verito asked.
"It was a full suppression objective," Stutler explained to 10News. "They had every intent to go put it out ... from the very beginning."
He said what appears to some as a "let-burn" or "controlled burn" situation was, instead, a containment effort, since putting firefighters on the ground wasn't possible due to the Chimneys' steep, rocky terrain.
And helicopters' water drops were meant to slow, not extinguish, the fire.
"At some point, there's some person with a pulaski, a hand tool, got to go there and put it out or have a containment line to where it naturally extinguishes," Stutler said. "You can never put a fire out with a helicopter. You can't put it out with an air tanker. Now, you can slow its progress."
The fire review team expects to have its report ready in about two months, Stutler said.
10News asked Stutler whether Fourth Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, who is in charge of the arson cases, plans on keeping the report from the public eye.
"I don't have any indication of that at all," Stutler said.
Dunn has done this with other information related to the wildfires, citing the sensitive and ongoing nature of this case involving juveniles.
"We don't anticipate any problems. We met with those folks yesterday, today," Stutler said.
Fire review team members plan on conducting their assessment in Sevier County through Saturday, Stutler said.