Gatlinburg fire leaves behind unthinkable aftermath, destroyed cabins

GATLINBURG (WATE) – The flames have died down and the smoke is beginning to clear.

The wildfire that ravaged through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park left behind a scene full of ashes and blackened trees.

“With that wind condition the fire just grew, almost as a fire storm people would say,” said park spokesperson Warren Bielenberg.

More coverage: Smokies wildfires

Now in the aftermath there are scorched and broken guardrails, unreadable signs, and singed debris. Warren says no park structures were damaged but above the park shells of buildings can be seen.

“Most of the fire is out. It burned through the leaf litter and basically once the leaves are gone there’s no fuel,” said Bielenberg.

Crews are now beginning their cleanup efforts.

“They were trying to remove hazards from the spur and along the bypass,” said Bielenberg. “Then they’ll do an evaluation on all those guardrails we saw that were burned out and I suspect they will have to replace many of those guardrails.”

Bielenberg says he is unaware of any fatalities or harm to the wildlife in the park. He says the animals have evolved to handle and escape these types of fires. Bielenberg says the park is unsure when it will reopen.

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