Doug and I got away for a few days last week to visit our beloved Smoky Mountains. We'd been wanting to get down there ever since the wildfires had raged through the area in late November, 2016; but this was the first opportunity we'd had to do it.
During the time since the fires, much had been done to deal with the damage and destruction. Some 2400 structures had been damaged or destroyed in and around Gatlinburg. Most of that debris had been removed, at least in the areas we saw. But we stayed away from some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods.
The above photo, taken from the Gatlinburg overlook, shows the scorched trees in the foreground.
The Park Vista Hotel, the tall, round hotel in the photo above, was surrounded by the fires. The blackened area in front of the hotel shows how close the flames were on that side of the building. A little below the Hotel, about the middle of the photo, there are several burned-out structures visible.
Crews had sprayed a mixture of fertilizer and grass seed along the burned areas next to the roadways in the national park, resulting in lush green grass growing close to the road. But, a look above the green reveals some of the burned area.
We've often stopped at the overlook from which the above photo was taken, but we'd never seen the river at the bottom of the hill before. The fires had burned away much of the ground vegetation. You can also see a blackened strip coming down the ridge of the mountain on the right.
The photo above shows what's left of the Smoky Mountain Castle, situated high on a mountain, overlooking Gatlinburg. To see pictures of the Castle before the fire, click here. A bit of the Castle's history can be found here.
|Above are two views of one home's burned-out foundation.|
|Two more burned-out homes|
The fire started in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Chimney Tops, a popular hiking destination. On November 28, 2016, winds approaching 90 miles per hour swept the fire down the mountain and into the town of Gatlinburg, with little warning. In addition to the 2400 damaged or destroyed structures, 14 people lost their lives. Two juveniles are currently being held in Juvenile Detention, accused of aggravated arson.