A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard has been called in to fight a destructive wildfire burning in a resort area outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in eastern Tennessee.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency announced early Monday that the State Emergency Operations Center had activated to Level 3 -State of Emergency as a result of the wildfire in Sevier County that has destroyed at least 35 large rental cabins.
The Knoxville New Sentinel reported the 135-acre fire that broke out around 5 p.m. EDT Sunday and quickly spread with more than 30 fire departments across eastern Tennessee fighting the blaze.
Ben Bryson, a fire resources coordinator with the Tennessee Division of Forestry, said early Monday that the fire was contained and not expected to spread further at this time.
Two Black Hawk helicopters from the Tennessee Air National Guard were dispatched at 7 a.m. CDT Monday to begin an aerial survey of the damage and will air drop water from the nearby Douglas Lake onto the fire as needed, said Perrin Anderson, spokesman for Sevier County.
Some of the cabins destroyed in the wildfire were occupied with about 150 to 200 people, who were all evacuated, Bryson said. No injuries were reported.
Rain and thunderstorms are expected to aid in extinguishing the wildfire Monday afternoon into early Tuesday as a storm system moves across the area. The National Weather Service says up to one inch of rainfall is likely.
The exact cause of this wildfire is under investigation.
This follows another destructive weekend wildfire that engulfed multiple residential buildings in eastern South Carolina on Saturday, leaving dozens homeless.