Dialogue: Six Months After the Fires

May 3, 2017

Credit U.S. Geological Survey

It's been six months since wildfires burned approximately 2,400 buildings, killed fourteen people and forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the Tennessee tourist hub, Gatlinburg.

Today, officials are trying to lure the tourists back, no small concern because tourism is the county's number-one industry and employer. Residents who lost their homes are struggling to get back on their feet in a tight housing market. And others examine what can be done the next time a fire threatens the area.

On this edition of Dialogue, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Brenda McCroskey tells host Brandon Hollingsworth about the fire's effect on tourism, and what local officials are doing to rebuild the industry. Knoxville Mercury reporter Heather Duncan talks about the housing dilemma and community groups working to help people as bigger agencies scale back their help. And UT professor Henri Grissino-Mayer talks about the ecological causes and effects of the fires, as well as his work to predict areas most likely to see wildfires.