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Gatlinburg Earns National Recognition for Wildfire Preparedness

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 | 10:12am

NASHVILLE – The city of Gatlinburg, Tenn. will host a ceremony to celebrate earning Firewise USA recognition on May 23 at 3 p.m. EDT at Rocky Top SportsWorld in Gatlinburg.

To become Firewise, the Gatlinburg community conducted wildfire hazard assessments and developed protection plans to address safety concerns with guidance from the Gatlinburg Fire Department, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry. Residents then worked together to implement the plans to reduce fire risk.

“This is such a tremendous milestone,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said. “We are honored to receive this recognition after a considerable amount of work and dedication from both the City of Gatlinburg and from the Firewise committee. The implementation of the action plan steps will serve to make the community more wildfire resistant.”

Tennessee leads the nation in new Firewise recognized communities so far this year with 5, and now has a total of 24 in the program.

“Tennessee’s forested landscapes and rolling hills are assets to our great state, however they also put communities like Gatlinburg most at risk for wildfire,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “We commend the people of Gatlinburg for coming together to make their community safer and more prepared for any future threat. Being Firewise benefits residents and the many visitors who come to enjoy the mountains. We are pleased to have been a part of this accomplishment and proud to see the recognition, as it is extremely well deserved.”

The free and voluntary Firewise USA recognition program allows communities to apply for grants from the Division of Forestry to implement projects specified in their Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

Contact Tim Phelps at Tim.R.Phelps@tn.gov or 615-428-5913 for more information.