Pigeon Forge, Tenn. — About 35 vacation cabins in the Black Bear Ridge Resort were destroyed by a wildfire in Pigeon Forge, just outside of Dollywood Theme Park. Some of the cabins were occupied and about 150 to 200 people were evacuated. The fire, which so far has burned 145 acres, was first reported around 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 17. The Tennessee division of Forestry says the fire appears to be contained and is not expected to spread.
On Saturday, March 16, firefighters were called in to extinguish a brush fire at Dollywood that may have been started by the park’s train. Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens said about 80 firefighters responded to the fire that was in an undeveloped portion of the park. Owens said that it appeared the fire was started by sparks from the train, but the fire department will have to investigate to determine the exact cause. Firefighters remained throughout the evening and the last of the crews left at 7 a.m. Sunday.
Nathan Waters of the Tennessee Forestry Service said brushfires have broken out in other counties in East Tennessee, including Loudon, Claiborne and Grainger counties.