Five fire vehicles were destroyed during fire crews' response to the Hatcher Mountain-Indigo Lane wildfire in Sevier County, Tennessee, which has been burning since Wednesday morning. The fire is burning near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg.
In a press conference streamed by WBIR in Knoxville, Pigeon Forge Fire Department Chief Tony Watson explained that a group of firefighters made a stand in an effort to protect a structure on the mountain when they were overtaken by the flames and had to take refuge to let the fire pass them, abandoning their vehicles. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said four county agency fire engines and one state agency fire engine were impacted. The departments are now asking for donations to purchase new vehicles. to Two firefighters were also injured.
As of late Sunday, the Hatcher Mountain-Indigo Lane Fire has burned 2,498 acres, and is 98% contained, according to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Approximately 300 structures have been impacted. A reported 120 fire vehicles have assisted on the local level, 31 vehicles have assisted on the state level, and five Army Air National Guard helicopters have assisted in the air, according to Tim Phelps, communications and outreach unit leader with the Tennessee Division of Forestry.
One helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing last Thursday due to equipment issues on the aircraft, according to a statement from the Guard. No passengers were injured.
Firefighters are now battling a second wildfire, which is being called the Millstone Gap Fire. That fire, which has burned 678 acres, is 60% contained, according to the Sevier County EMA. At least two structures have been affected. Mayor Waters said it's located in a remote area at the edge of Sevier County and Blount County, in a mountainous terrain that was initially difficult for crews to access. Around half a dozen fire response vehicles have assisted with that fire.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 4/4/2022 with more recent fire containment stats and photos.