Last Monday, two weeks since the Gatlinburg wildfires, Hub and I drove through there looking at the damage. The worst damage was in the mountains above the bypass from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.
My friend who works at Apple Annie's was there when it all happened. She had been warned that evacuation was possible, so she went to the store across from the police department to fill her gas tank. Fire was all around them, and people congregated at the store because no shelters had been opened then. Hurricane force winds caused power lines to break and people lost electrical power and cell service at the same time. In addition, emergency sirens were everywhere, adding to the panic. Thankfully, there were no fatalities in her neighborhood, and the arts and crafts community on Glades Road was not damaged. For my quilting friends, we stopped at Susan's Quilts and they are all fine.
It will be a long, hard winter for the folks who live here, but spring will come again. The trees will put out new leaves and Smoky Mountain wildflowers will push through the ashes on the forest floor.
We drove by the ruins of the Alamo Steakhouse. Already, heavy equipment was moving the twisted metal, getting ready to start construction of the new building. I'm guessing they will be serving that delicious food again by spring break.