As most of you reading this probably know by now, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee became under conflagration with wildfires that spread out from several areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley on Monday, November 28th. As of writing, 13 people were pronounced dead, 80 were injured, more than 1,000 structures (including well-known businesses and iconic buildings) were destroyed and more than 15,000 acres of mountains.

To say the event was a historic emergency in East Tennessee underscores the reality of what happened. However, in the midst of this nearly unprecedented darkness in the Smokies, we have seen a flood of light come in to help repair the damage and support those in need. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have come in from all over the country to support those who lost their homes, jobs and/or loved ones in the wildfires and we still get people asking us what they can do to help.

Truth is, the best thing you can do to help us is to come back to the Smokies and vacation with us. For better or worse, tourism is the literal lifeblood of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley and Sevierville. We need visitors to come back, stay with us, eat with us, shop with us and continue to smile, laugh and enjoy themselves the same as they always did. All of our Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Wears Valley attractions are currently open and Gatlinburg is expected to fully open back up this coming Wednesday.

Visit www.wbir.com for the latest news regarding the wildfires and any openings or closing related to them. Thank you and we hope to see you again here in the coming holidays!