A late winter forest fire that broke out Sunday near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was still raging northwest of the Tennessee park Monday, damaging or destroying 65 structures, most of them rental cabins.
"We’re still working the fire,’’ Perrin Anderson, an information officer for Sevier County, Tenn., told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. He said the fire was contained, but not yet controlled.
The normal forest fire season in eastern Tennessee is spring and summer, when dry conditions are most prevalent, Anderson said. But even in late winter, he said, there is some undergrowth and forest debris that can burn if ignited.
Fire officials believe the fire started in a cabin Sunday afternoon, but the cause has not been determined, he said.
The fire began outside the town of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., population 6,000, in a forested area northwest of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Anderson said. The rental cabins that burned are in forested resort areas, where an undetermined number of private homes also were damaged by the blaze.