TEMA

12 TN counties covered by fed disaster declaration from May storms

News release from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced (Friday) evening 12 counties will receive federal aid assistance through a Presidential Disaster Declaration as the recovery process continues in several areas from the severe storms and straight-line winds of May 27, and May 28, 2017.

“Local, state, and federal partners came together in a collaborative effort to assess impacts rapidly so we could have accurate storm damage data and illustrate our need for a disaster declaration to President Trump,” Haslam said. “I am grateful to all the first responders, emergency managers, and community members who have united to help others recover from the impact of these storms.”

Tennessee counties included in the Presidential Declaration are:  Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Sevier, Shelby, and Smith.

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Sevier fire update from AP, TEMA: Three dead, others missing, National Guard helps firemen

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Wildfires fueled by high winds killed three people near the Great Smoky Mountains and authorities went door to door Tuesday to check on the well-being of residents and visitors of the popular tourist area.

The fires burned to the doorstep of the Dollywood theme park, destroyed a resort and chased thousands of people from their homes.

National Guard troops arrived to help overwhelmed firefighters, and Mother Nature provided a little relief as the winds calmed and rain fell in some areas. Forecasters said it would not be enough to end the relentless drought that has spread across the South and set the stage over the past few weeks for wildfires in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

Linda Monholland, who was working at Park View Inn in Gatlinburg, said it was about 9 p.m. Monday when she left her workplace with about five other people. Surrounded by flames the whole way, they walked for about 20 minutes to a trolley to evacuate.

“There was fire everywhere. It was like we were in hell. Hell opened up,” said Monholland, who was staying Tuesday at Rocky Top Sports World, an 80-acre sports facility that has been turned into a shelter. “Walking through hell, that’s what it was. I can’t believe it. I never want to see something like that again in my life, ever.”

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters confirmed the deaths but said he didn’t have any additional details. Officials were still conducting search-and-rescue missions.

“We have not been able to get in all of the areas,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said. “We pray that we don’t experience any more fatalities but there are still areas that we are trying to get to because of down trees and down power lines.”

Photos of the popular tourist area showed scorched cars and buildings, and soot-covered debris littered across roads in the Gatlinburg area. A smoky haze hung in the air, obscuring picturesque views of mountains in the fall, awash in trees with leaves of red, yellow and gold.

Firefighters were still battling hotspots and a few structural fires, and officials were keeping an eye on strong winds forecast for Tuesday night.

Full AP story HERE. 

A Tennessee Emergency Management Agency update is below.

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Drought, wildfires prompt TEMA to declare state of emergency

News release from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

This evening the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) in response to the drought and wildfire impacts, and continued threat, in the State.
There is now a Level 3 – State of Emergency in place for Tennessee, as of 7 p.m., Central, on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.
Statement from TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan

“Approximately 302 of Tennessee’s 480 water systems are experiencing some level of drought impact, ranging from moderate to exceptional. At least three counties have requested water for residents whose wells have run completely dry of water.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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