Containment of Gatlinburg's deadly Chimney Tops 2 Fire increases to 58 percent

This Dec. 1, 2016, satellite image using near-infrared (NIR) provided by DigitalGlobe shows damage from the wildfire near Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tenn. NIR imagery causes healthy vegetation to appear red and the burn scar from the wildfire to be dark brown. More than 14,000 residents and visitors in Gatlinburg were forced to evacuate, and the typically bustling tourist city has been shuttered ever since. (Digital Globe via AP)

Containment of the Chimney Tops 2 Fire has increased to 58 percent. The Cobbly Nob Fire remains at 53 percent.

The City of Gatlinburg plans to reopen for business and to the general public on Friday, December 9 at 7:00 a.m. Major roadways are expected to be open, but some city roadways may remain closed to accommodate utility work.

On Wednesday, December 7, property owners, business owners, renters, and lease holders will be allowed to return to full-time occupancy beginning at 7 a.m. through the East Parkway (Hwy. 321) entry point. The curfew will then be in effect from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Please use caution when entering the burned area

The Chimney Tops 2 Fire was reported in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at approximately 5:20 p.m.

The wildfire began burning in Chimney Tops, a remote location of the park in steep terrain with vertical cliffs and narrow rocky ridges making access to the wildfire area difficult for firefighting efforts.

On Monday, November 28, the exceptional drought conditions and extreme winds caused the wildfire to grow rapidly, causing numerous new wildfire starts from embers carried miles away and downed powerlines in and adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The wildfire was determined to be human-caused and is currently under investigation.

Chimney Tops 2 and Cobbly Nob Fires' acreage did not increase again Monday, due to continued rain. This means there was no fire spread.

Despite the rain, heat still exists within the fire perimeter. There was some smoke behind Westgate Resort that was investigated and was found to be logs smoldering.

Even though there has been no fire spread, residents are urged to use caution when entering the burned area, and be prepared for hazards that may be present on their property. These include, but are not limited to: hazards trees, footing, smoking stumps, ash pits, parking, collapse of structural material, and utilities.

Authorities will continue to mop up and patrol and provide for public and firefighter safety.

To date, there are 14 confirmed fatalities. Over 145 people sustained injuries, and 1753 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

Chimney Tops 2

Start Date: Nov 23 Size: 17,006 Containment: 58 percent

Cobbly Nob

Start Date: Nov 28 Size: 803 Containment: 53 percent

Incident Resources: 24 crews, 45 engines, 4 helicopters, 2 dozers, 1 air attack, 719 total personnel

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