Heavy rains have helped contain the wildfires that have engulfed parts of East Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
According to officials, at least seven people are dead and hundreds of buildings have been damaged or destroyed, reports The Washington Post. Some 16,000 acres were burned by Nov. 30, officials said.
The fires are estimated to have damaged or destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses, and at least 53 people have been treated for injuries at hospitals. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash believes the wildfires are “likely to be human-caused.”
In response to the devastation, country music legend Dolly Parton has established a fund to help the victims, reports CTV News. “I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken,” she announced on the website of her amusement park, Dollywood. Although the fires reached Dollywood’s edge, the park was spared serious damage.
Parton said The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation is stepping up to help. She gave the details on the official website:
As you may know by now, there have been terrible wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, the same mountains where I grew up and where my people call home.
I have always believed that charity begins at home. That’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood Companies – Including the Dollywood Theme Park, and DreamMore Resort; My dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation to help me establish the “My People Fund.”
We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. To aid in their recovery effort, the Dollywood Foundation will provide $1,000 a month to all of those families who lost their homes in the fires for six months so that they can get back on their feet.
Sources: CTV News, The Washington Post, Dollywood, Dollywood Foundation / Photo credit: Curtis Hilbun via Wikimedia Commons