Update: As of 2 p.m. EST, TEMA said that the fire was contained, but is now threatening 15 to 20 homes in the Priscilla Heights area. It is also threatening the Pine Crest and Pine Ridge areas. It said that there is a chance that the fire can jump a ridgeline and threaten Pigeon Forge. It said the winds are expected to be 24 mph and up at 3 p.m., but that the storm is expected to bring an inch of rain to the area by tomorrow.
A state of emergency was declared at 8 a.m. EST due to a fire near Pigeon Forge, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) said today. The fire began Sunday at 4:20 p.m. and has damaged or destroyed 35 structures and covers more than 130 acres, according to the agency.
There are no reports of injuries or fatalities, but the fire caused the evacuation of 150 people. They are being assisted by the American Red Cross. WBIR reported that 25 departments are assisting the county, including the Knoxville Fire Department. The news agency also reported that the Tennessee Army National Guard lent Black Hawk helicopters to airlift water and douse the fire.
Heavy rains are moving into the area and are expected to help fight the fire, according to radar images provided by WBIR. As of noon today, WBIR said that 65 structures, mostly cabins, have been damaged or destroyed and more than 160 acres burned.
According to TEMA, a state of emergency is defined as: "This level describes an event or period when a serious emergency has occurred or the situation is deteriorating rapidly, and public warnings are being issued. The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) are activated at this level in accordance with TCA 58-2-107(b)(2), and this action by law declares a state of emergency. Only key or specifically needed emergency service coordinators are called to duty."