Tennessee Wildfire Damages Exceed $500 Million

Gatlinburg wildfires destroyed or damaged 2,460 structures and killed 14 people

A burned vehicle sits in a heavily damaged neighborhood above Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. The resort town reopened to the public for the first time since wildfires on Nov. 28. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

A burned vehicle sits in a heavily damaged neighborhood above Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. The resort town reopened to the public for the first time since wildfires on Nov. 28. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

 

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Local officials estimate that deadly wildfires in East Tennessee have caused more than $500 million in damage.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters released the estimate Monday for the wildfires in the Gatlinburg area that killed 14 people.

Officials say 2,460 structures were destroyed or damaged, including more than 2,100 homes and almost 60 businesses destroyed.

Also on Monday, Deputy Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Clay Jordan said officials believe there was no way to control the fire in the park before extreme winds brought it into the Gatlinburg area Nov. 28.

Jordan also said there was no number of firefighters or fire trucks that could have stopped the spread of the fires in those wind conditions, which reached gusts about 87 miles per hour.

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