An 81-year-old woman was confirmed to have died in eastern Tennessee’s devastating wildfires, raising the death toll to 14, authorities said Sunday.
Elaine Brown sustained a “medical event” that led to a multi-vehicle accident while she was fleeing the fires in Sevier County in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the joint federal-state-local incident management team said Sunday night.
More than 700 firefighters from almost two dozen fire crews remain in eastern Tennessee battling the Chimney Tops 2 fire and several smaller wildfires it helped spark, fire commanders said Sunday night. In addition to the 14 people who have died, 134 others have been treated at hospitals, they said.
The human-caused main fire was at 17,006 acres and was 42 percent contained Sunday night, authorities said. It’s expected to continue smoldering overnight before rain forecast for Monday helps to slow its spread.
The tourist resort town of Gatlinburg, at the center of the devastation, remains under an overnight curfew, but it’s expected to reopen to the public on Wednesday, authorities said.
More than 14,000 people were forced to evacuate as the fires have raged for almost two weeks. More than 700 structures are confirmed to have been destroyed, and more than 2,000 customers are still without power, incident commanders said.