ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
76°
Mostly Cloudy
H 94° L 73°
  • clear-night
    76°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 94° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 94° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    87°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 73°
National
Tennessee fire was ‘human-caused;’ 4 dead; what we know now
Close

Tennessee fire was ‘human-caused;’ 4 dead; what we know now

Tennessee fire was ‘human-caused;’ 4 dead; what we know now
Photo Credit: Tom Sherlin
Dakota Cogdill sifts through the remains of a home after a wild fire burned the home Monday night in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. . Hundreds of structures have apparently been destroyed with more than 1,300 people evacuated overnight Monday November 29, 2016. Emergency officials ordered evacuations in downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and in other areas of Sevier County near the Great Smoky Mountains. About 14,000 residents and visitors were evacuated from Gatlinburg alone. (Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times via AP)

Tennessee fire was ‘human-caused;’ 4 dead; what we know now

Rain moved into eastern Tennessee late Tuesday, helping firefighters put down a fire that has killed four people, destroyed more than 400 homes and businesses, charred 15,000 acres and caused the evacuation of more than 14,000 people.

The wildfire, which is located mainly in Sevier County, is believed to be the largest one in the state in more than 100 years. Officials say they believe it was not started by a lightning strike, but was 'human-caused.'

Here’s what we know about the fire so far:

• The original fire that sparked the dozen other blazes that have moved across southern Tennessee was "human-caused," National Park Service spokeswoman Dana Soehn said.

• On Monday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 87 mph hit the area, spreading the fire before the region saw ¾ to 1 inch of rain overnight Tuesday.

• Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller has confirmed that the at least three of the four victims killed in the blaze died in separate incidents.

• Cabins on the grounds of the Dollywood theme park have burned, according to authorities, but the park has not been damaged.

• At least 30 buildings have burned in Gatlinburg.

• 50-60 firetrucks and heavy equipment have been sent to the fire zones.

• Between 100 and 125 members of the National Guard have been deployed.

• More than 200 firefighters from around the state are in the area fighting the fire.

• On Tuesday, a fire was reported near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park headquarters.

Sources: The Knoxville Sentinel; The Associated Press; USA Today; The Washington Post

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”