Dolly Parton “Heartbroken” Over Fires; Dollywood to Reopen Friday

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Park operation suspended Wednesday after Tennessee wildfires threatened Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins.

A raging wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park forced mandatory evacuations in the Tennessee resort towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, with visitors of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood forced to flee as well, even though the fire hadn’t reached the theme park. USA Today reported that as of Tuesday morning, roads around the towns were packed with motorists fleeing the fires, which had been whipped up by high winds.

Pete Owens, a spokesperson for Dollywood, said in the statement that no structures in the park had been damaged, but that fire crews for the area’s largest theme park were standing by if needed. With flames approaching a ridge near the park, staff evacuated 19 cabins in Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins resort area, as well as guests from 50 rooms at the DreamMore Resort.

ABC News reported that Dean Flener, a spokesperson with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said the wildfires had reached “right on the doorstep” of Dollywood, but that crews had stopped the fires from breaching the park overnight. The fires have burned more than 100 homes in the surrounding area so far, injuring one, with more than 1,000 people…