Wind gusts fuel Tennessee fires, force evacuations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wind gusts fuel Tennessee fires, force evacuations

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (NBC) -

Wildfires driven by wind gusts have prompted mandatory evacuations in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Officials say fire crews are battling 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts to corral at least 14 fires burning around the popular tourist destination. Several roads and trails through Great Smoky Mountain National Park have been closed.

Crews say wind gusts keep bringing down trees, limbs and other brush that are allowing the fires to spread rapidly. Smoke and ash have created poor visibility in the area.

Officials say the fires pose a serious threat until rains come, but forecasters are predicting a significant amount of rain to fall overnight.

Authorities could not provide an estimate of the total acreage that was burning, and the origins of the fires remains unknown.

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