A major wildfire is raging through the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the western gateway town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. More than 14,000 residents have been evacuated from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in the past 24 hours as fire has damaged and destroyed over 100 structures, including The Park Vista DoubleTree Hotel. I stayed at The Park Vista in June 2015, a 16-story hotel property on a hill overlooking the town of Gatlinburg, on my road trip from Orlando to Nashville. One of the videos receiving a lot of media coverage show flames outside The Park Vista hotel windows as guests trapped inside the hotel were ordered to stay put by the fire department due to the steep hillside road into town being impassable.
Update 11/30/16: Twitter account for The Park Vista Gatlinburg states hotel has smoke damage, but still stands without interior fire damage. There were several media reports initially stating a 16-story hotel had burned. The Twitter feed has several guest photos with beautiful views of colorful forests and hills surrounding Park Vista hotel in recent weeks before the fire. Fire reports today indicate about 15,000 acres burned.
Update 12/1/16 – Best fire update reports I have found so far. 17,000 + acres burned with more than 10,000 acres burned in National Park. Hundreds of structures in Gatlinburg damaged. Seven confirmed dead and recovery efforts underway in Gatlinburg. Evacuated residents may not be allowed to return before next week.
Loyalty Traveler- Out of Great Smoky and Into DoubleTree Park Vista Gatlinburg.
My article provides descriptions and photos of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge from my stay at The Park Vista Gatlinburg DoubleTree hotel.
The Park Vista DoubleTree Hotel Gatlinburg, Tennessee (June 2015).
Gatlinburg, TN main road through town.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are under mandatory evacuation orders. Great Smoky Mountains National Park facilities are closed. High winds with gusts up to 80 mph quickly spread the fire yesterday from 10 acres to 500 acres. Weather forecast for rain is expected to help the fire suppression effort, but major fire damage to structures around Gatlinburg has already been done.