DEVASTATION

Death Toll Climbs to 7 in TN Fires

The death toll from wildfires in Tennessee rose to seven Wednesday as authorities reported at least 700 structures damaged or destroyed. At least 45 fire-related injuries were reported, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. While rain helped firefighters gain some control of the flames late Wednesday, Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller warned the fire was still a threat, and crews were now also dealing with mudslides. In the resort town of Gatlinburg, where at least 300 structures were damaged, mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect, as well as a curfew. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to fire damage and downed trees. Authorities said the blaze that erupted Monday was “likely to be human-caused.” An estimated 15,700 acres have been damaged. Search-and-rescue efforts continued Wednesday, as President Barack Obama reached out to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, offering any support needed and expressing his sympathy for the lives lost.