Sen. Alexander: Trump’s pick for interior secretary promises to complete review of Sevier County fires

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Interior Secretary-designate, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Zinke, 55, a former Navy SEAL who just won his second term in Congress, was an early supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and, like his prospective boss, […]

WASHINGTON (WATE) – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander says President-elect Trump’s selection for U.S. Secretary of the Interior has promised to finish as quickly as possible a review into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s response to the deadly wildfires and the lessons that can be learned.

Rep. Ryan Zinke’s confirmation hearing was held on Tuesday by the U.S. Senate Energy and National Resources Committee, of which Alexander is a member. During the hearing, Zinke said he would complete the review of the Chimney Tops 2 fire if confirmed.

“I want to thank the National Park Service, and in particular Superintendent Cassius Cash and his team from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for their rapid response to the wildfires that occurred in November. I appreciate their willingness to work with the local government in Gatlinburg and Sevier County, and I know folks in that area appreciate their hard work too,” Alexander said. “It is important for the Interior Department to have a careful review of the response to the Sevier County fires to determine what lessons could be learned for the future. I appreciate Rep. Zinke agreeing to move forward with the Individual Fire Review.”More online: Rebuilding Gatlinburg

Fourteen people were killed and more than 2,400 buildings damaged or destroyed in the fires which spread to the city of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area on November 28.

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