>> Three people are dead, thousands evacuated. Hundreds of homes and businesses including a 16 story hotel destroyed in the raging wildfires burning Tuesday through two Tennessee resort towns just north of the Great Smoky Mountains. A state of emergency declared and mandatory evacuations for people in Gatlinburg and parts of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Strong winds and droughts stoking the fire.>> There were times last night that we had wind gust in excess of 87 miles an hour, that is hurricane force. That is nowhere to be when you're trying to fight a fire.>> National Guard troops called in to help overwhelmed firefighters.
The fast moving flames have burned through or are threatening a number of resorts and cabins including Dollywood, the theme park owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. Jim Cooper and his family are among of the evacuees seeking shelter in a local church.>> Well, we were in our cabin and preparing supper and we had a knock at the door and it was the policeman.
And said that, he would recommend that we leave because the fire was getting close to where the cabin was.>> A curfew is in effect Tuesday night as firefighters continue to battle the flames and canvas neighborhoods to make sure everyone is safe.