GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – It was three years ago this week that over 17,000 acres in the Gatlinburg area burned, damaging or destroying over 2,400 structures and tragically killing 14 people and injuring 175 others.
This long Thanksgiving Day holiday Gatlinburg is again a bustling tourist town. Businesses have been rebuilt (some bigger and better), homes have been repaired or rebuilt, and vegetation has returned, but there remains many signs of the fire devastation.
Watch this drone video shot by WATE 6 On Your Side to see what the area looks like today.
Then read this timeline of what happened on this week three years ago.
Gatlinburg and Sevier County officials announced Monday that plans are officially underway to build a memorial to those who died in the fire. Construction of the memorial is not expected to begin until May 2012 with a planning phase next year.
The controversy surrounding the fire also continues. Insurance companies just last week filed suit against the federal government over the National Park Service’s handling of the fire which began in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other lawsuits filed by victims (or their families) of the fire continue to wind their way in court as well.