Structure loss, damage in wildfire set at $12 million

Structure loss, damage in wildfire set at $12 million

28 March 2013

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USA — Sevier County authorities estimate the loss in a wildfire earlier this month at about $12 million.

The Mountain Press reported the figure includes only the value of the cabins destroyed or damaged in the March 17 fire at Black Bear Ridge Resort and not damage to the property.

County Emergency Management Agency Director John Matthews said authorities have revised downward the number of cabins affected by the fire, reducing it from 81 to 73. Matthews said it was discovered that some concrete pads had not yet been built upon.

The dollar figure is based upon property values on file at the county assessor’s office.

It appears only one person lost a permanent home. Elmer King was evacuated from his home atop one of the ridges. King was staying with family members in the area.

There were no deaths and only minor injuries to a few firefighters.

Matthews said there isn’t likely to be much cost to the county from the response to the fire that burned through 160 acres, just outside of Pigeon Forge. That’s despite the involvement of 270 responders from 48 different agencies.

“It’s on the assumption next week it’ll be on their backyard and they’ll need everybody to come help them, too,” he said.

Officials estimate firefighters saved about 200 other cabins from the fire. Timely heavy rainfall on March 18 helped douse the flames after firefighters had contained them.

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