Gatlinburg (TN) Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires Recorded in Oral History Project

December 1, 2021 9:38 pm


An oral history project led by the University of Tennessee Libraries records the lived experiences of the Chimney Tops 2 wildfires that swept through Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains in 2016.

The collections in the project are housed on a website that shares interviews collected by Rising from the Ashes: The Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires Oral History Project.

Chimney Tops 2 Remembered

On November 23, 2016, an uncontained wilderness fire on the summit of Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, aided by winds approaching ninety miles-per-hour, jumped the park boundary and descended upon the tourist town of Gatlinburg, wreaking a level of destruction that was later identified as the deadliest wildfire in the eastern US since the 1940s and one of the largest natural disasters in Tennessee history.

Fourteen people perished, more than 200 were injured, and thousands were forced to evacuate. Over 17,000 acres were burned and nearly 2,600 buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed. The social, cultural, economic, political, and natural impacts of this event are still being calculated.

Visit the Oral History Project

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