Country music icon Dolly Parton appeared in a video released hours before the wildfires that engulfed Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to urge people to prevent forest fires. However, she has been paying close attention to what's going on back home, she noted Tuesday.
Dolly Parton released a statement saying, "I have been watching the awful fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken". "I am praying for all the families affe".
Parton also noted that it was "a blessing" that the theme park that bares her name, "Dollywood", and the newly-opened DreamMore Resort adjacent to the park campus were spared from major damage from the blaze, as were many businesses in the Pigeon Forge area.
Parton's 120-hectare amusement resort is one of the region's most popular draws with rides and musical events that sometimes include appearances by Parton and her family.
Dolly Parton has been left "heartbroken" as raging wildfires sweep across eastern Tennessee, prompting the evacuation of her Dollywood resort.
A school in Gatlinburg destroyed by fire. "High winds continue to spread the fires around the county as the Dollywood resort staff works to protect the Dollywood DreamMore Resort, Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins and other Dollywood property".
Hundreds of firefighters have descended on Gatlinburg and TEMA estimated that more than 14,000 residents and visitors had been evacuated from the city alone. Pete Owens, a spokesperson for Dollywood, said there is no damage to the park.
Officials in Sevier County, in which Gatlinburg and Dollywood are located, told reporters yesterday that three people had died, according to multiple U.S. media.
"The state is providing coordinated resources, including Nat'l Guard, to help Gatlinburg, all those affected by devastating fires", Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.