Severe droughts set the stage for wildfires in the South

Strong wind storm fueled the flames Monday night

Wildfires that have been burning through parts of the Great Smoky Mountains have destroyed a resort, and forced thousands of people to flee to safety.

The flames burned to the edge of the Dollywood theme park in Tennessee, after spreading overnight as winds gusted above 87 miles an hour.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings, including a 16-story hotel, were damaged or destroyed. A least a dozen people have been taken to hospitals including some with burns.

National Guard troops arrived today to help overwhelmed firefighters, and Mother Nature has provided a little relief as winds calmed and rain fell in some areas.

Forecasters said the rain would not be enough to end the relentless drought that has spread across the South and set the stage for wildfires in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Categories: Environment-imported, Fire and Rescue-imported, News-imported