USA Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said Thursday afternoon that authorities had discovered four additional deaths, now bringing the death toll to 11. The mayor did not release any details about the fatalities and said authorities are still working to positively identify the remains.
Crews continue to make significant progress in their search for any survivors in the rubble of wildfires that torched hundreds of homes and businesses near the Great Smoky Mountains, officials said Thursday.
Authorities set up a hotline for people to report missing friends and relatives, and while law enforcement is following up on dozens of leads, officials have not said exactly how many people they think are unaccounted for. Officials believe they will have searched most of the ruins by the end of the day.
Cassius Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, said Thursday that fire investigators have determined the forest fire component of the wildfire was human-caused, though no other details have been released. Other areas of the fire, however, were natural and possibly stemmed from trees falling on power lines during Monday nights high winds.