Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 7 at 12 pm. We may continue to update this story as more details become available.
A fire was reported yesterday afternoon, April 6, 2021 around 2:30 pm near the same area that burned during the 2016 wildfires in Wears Valley, Sevier County.
According to the Tennessee Division of Forestry, the fire spanned 20 acres and is now contained.
Affected areas included Little Cove Road and Downs Farms Subdivision.
Multiple fire crews and over 100 firefighters were dispatched and arrived on scene shortly after receiving the call.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says that multiple people were evacuated, one structure was damaged and one minor injury was reported.
While crews remained on the fire overnight, residents were allowed to return to their homes by 8:30 pm that evening.
“It was really scary I’m not going to lie. I took that picture from the bottom of my driveway with no zoom, so it was really close,” said Amie Landry, owner of Landry’s Cabin Rentals, who snapped the picture you see above.
“We lived here during the 2016 fires and almost lost our house then, so it’s very scary to see it in the same area. As locals it’s really scary just to relive that feeling even though the conditions were very different being on the same mountain.”
No word yet on the cause of the fire.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.
Other recent fires in Sevier County
Fires are never a welcome foe, but are a particularly sensitive topic for residents of Sevier County and those who live in and around the Great Smoky Mountains.
Especially since the massive Gatlinburg wildfire of 2016.
The Great Smoky Mountain wildfires of 2016 were reportedly the deadliest wildfires in the eastern U.S. since the 1950s, killing 14 people and destroying more than 2,500 homes and businesses.
However, in true Smokies Strong fashion, the majority of the area has since recovered, and only a few tell-tale scars remain.
There have been several other recent fires in the Sevier County headlines as of late including but not limited to a small fire that broke out at the Mountain Heritage Inn last week in Gatlinburg and the massive Red Roof Outlet Mall fire that destroyed Just Stop Smokies, a local souvenir shop last October.
Are fires ever a ‘good’ thing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park managers have been conducting small prescribed fires in the Smokies over the course of the last 20 years, mostly in the Spring and Fall.
These fires, under prescription parameters, restore meadow habitats and help maintain the historic landscape.
Seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkey and ground nesting birds.
Importantly, these fires help reduce heavy accumulations of highly-flammable dead wood and brush, which help prevent future catastrophic wildfire events before they ever happen.
Did you see the Wears Valley wildfires yesterday afternoon? Let us know what you witnessed in the comments.