As many of my readers know, my favorite place in the whole world is the Smoky Mountains, which cover more than 816 square miles of the far eastern end of Tennessee and northwestern corner of North Carolina. This week horrific wildfires raged through the area killing three, injuring fourteen, forcing evacuation of two towns, and destroying untold numbers of homes, businesses, and acres of forest.
Firefighters called repeatedly for prayer from people all over the country as they battled the raging fire fed by the areas worst drought in a decade and by hurricane force winds blowing flames at speeds of between 70 and 90 miles an hour. Rains finally came in and offered some help over the past 24 hours, and authorities now say that the worst is over.
I’m fighting tears as I write this post, thinking of all the people who have suffered such agony and loss and most especially because the evidence points to the fact that this whole fire was the result of arson. There are so many crazy people in this world, but this kind of evil never fails to shock me. It is beyond my comprehension.
I’ve shared a series of videos below that include TV broadcasts as well as local personal videos of the horrors individuals went through as they faced losing everything they owned and trying to make their way to safety through the fire. I believe it’s most definitely a miracle that more lives were not lost, and for that I’m extraordinarily grateful.
The Great Smoky Mountains got their name from the Cherokee who have inhabited the range for generations and who coined the name to describe the haze that hangs over the mountains and nestles in the ridges every morning. It is often blue in color and gives the whole range a unique beauty that isn’t found anywhere else in the country. But after this week, that name won’t seem nearly as positive or happy as it did in the past.
However, I do have one positive note to add: I am happy to report that the family-owned inn where my family stays most of the time when we are in the area — and the town we spend most of our time in — are both safe and miraculously untouched by the fire.