KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A fire on resort property in Pigeon Forge has burned 30 to 40 acres and is about 15 percent contained as of 8:30 pm. Thursday, according to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency.
Brandy Hanwell, operations manager for Parkside Resort where the fire is burning, said firefighters called around 5:30 p.m. asking the resort to evacuate “about six properties” near Pine Mountain Road.
“From what I gather it is one fire spreading two directions,” Hanwell said.
Hanwell said she and staff are unable to see the fire from their vantage point. The resort’s office is at the bottom of a mountain away from the cabins on the property. Sevier County police officers and firefighters took over evacuations efforts around 6:30 p.m. and increased the evacuation radius to two miles around Parkside Resort.
“They won’t let us anywhere in our resort right now,” Hanwell said. “We’re seeing lots of traffic flowing out of the resort.”
Hanwell, who has been at the resort for 12 years said staff is answering calls from cabin owners and trying to keep people informed as much as they can despite not being able to see the fire up close.
When asked how the scene compares to the 2016 Gatlinburg fires Hanwell said the feeling is very similar as winds whipped across East Tennessee ahead of a strong storm Thursday just as it had then.
“It feels exactly like it … until we can get some updates to know what’s going on,” she said. “There was so much of the unknown for so many hours that that’s the frightening part is to just not having answers.”
The resort posted to its Facebook page that rain was beginning to fall around 7:40 p.m. and that there were no structure fires or injuries.