Last night, fueled by strong winds and bone dry foliage, a firestorm all but destroyed our neighboring city of Gatlinburg. The destruction is off the charts. There have been three fatalities (so far), and hundreds of buildings and houses burned to the ground. I’m not going to bother linking to the news articles, since it has been on the national news.
Denice and I have been watching the news since I got home. There are some heart wrenching stories coming out of the fire zone. One fellow’s story in particular was very sad. The man’s wife and two daughters were trapped by the fire at their home while he was away. He was unable to get to them during the night, but got through today only to find them missing. He has been frantically searching the shelters, but they are nowhere to be found. Very, very sad.
There was also an electric lineman who was killed by a falling tree while trying to restore power. He left behind a wife and young children.
I’m sure the scope of the tragedy will only grow as the fires and smoke subside. Who knows how many people, pets, homes, businesses, and thousands of acres of pristine wilderness have been destroyed. Time will tell.
I think a good lesson to learn from all of this is if you are going to build a house in or near the woods, don’t build it out of wood. Seriously, why do we still build structures out of flammable materials?