As a wildfire raging in Tennessee displaces more than 14,000 people near the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, residents in the state have banded together to help their communities. You can too.
The fire started Monday night at the top of Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains and quickly spread throughout Sevier County, destroying more than 100 structures along the way. Firefighters said they hoped for rain to come on Tuesday.
“For this specific area, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Jamie Sanders, executive assistant of public affairs for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service, told The Huffington Post.
Images and videos on social media show the extent of the blaze’s devastation.
Local businesses have offered their support to rescue workers and those that the fire displaced. News station WBIR has compiled a list of ways for others to help.
Here’s how to help if you live in Tennessee:
- The American Red Cross is accepting donations for first responders and evacuees at the Pigeon Forge Fire Hall Station 1 at 3229 Rena Street.
- The Knoxville Expo Center is accepting donations including water, dog food, tooth brushes, baby wipes, and more.
- Ryder Vehicle Sales, a business in Knoxville, is accepting donations at 7509 Strawberry Plains Pike.
- Wildwood Farm has volunteered to help large displaced animals, including cattle and horses. The farm has water, hay, stock trailers and horse trailers. They can be contacted at (865)-256-9589.
- The Ice Chalet, a skating rink in Bearden, is offering free skating passes to those who bring a case of water or blankets.
Here’s how to help if you don’t live in Tennessee: