GATLINBURG, TN (WTVM) - More than 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate popular tourist locations and their homes as thousands of acres have burned due to the Chimney Top wildfire in Tennessee.
Areas like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding areas have been evacuated as the fire has injured more than four people with severe burns in Knoxville and Nashville hospitals. Three people have died as a result of the fire.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has declared a Level III state of emergency for the areas as residents have taken to social media to show the extent of the fire.
TEMA also said that 30 buildings have been burned in Gatlinburg. Even with rain in the forecast, TEMA says it might not be enough.
"Even with the rain that is currently falling there, the fires continue to burn and structures remain engulfed with little hope that the rainfall will bring immediate relief," TEMA's latest update says.
Popular national parks, like the one in the Great Smoky Mountains, have closed their trails and camping sites to visitors. The national park has continuously posted updates on their social media and their website.
The tourist community of Gatlinburg has seen extensive damage. Images on social media show the fire nearly creeping up on the roadway as people fled the area.
Other tourist attraction sites, like the famous Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, says they had to leave thousands of animals behind as the fire continued to grow, according to WATE in Knoxville, TN.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol helped those surrounded by the fire and began rescue efforts Monday night.