Wildfire prompts evacuations southwest of Pigeon Forge, TN

The blaze is being pushed by strong winds

6:32 p.m. ET, March 31, 2022

Map, Hatcher Mountain Fire, 126 p.m. ET march 31, 2022
The red icons represent heat detected on the Hatcher Mountain Fire by satellites as late as 1:26 p.m. ET March 31, 2022.

The Sevier County Emergency Management said at about 3:10 p.m. Thursday that the evacuation area would be reduced shortly. You can type an address at the top-right on the page to see if it is affected.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered Thursday afternoon for Smoky Ridge Way off Wears Valley Road due to increased fire activity.

At 5:15 p.m. ET Thursday fire officials said the Hatcher Mountain/Indigo Lane fire was 3,700 acres and approximately 100 structures had been affected — the same numbers distributed in the 10 a.m. briefing.

Helicopters have been dropping water on the fire since early Thursday morning.

A reporter with WVLT got photos of some of the five pieces of fire apparatus that fire officials said were damaged on the Hatcher Mountain Fire northwest of Gatlinburg, Tennessee yesterday.


10:17 a.m. ET March 31, 2022

Indigo Lane Fire March 30, 2022
Indigo Lane Fire March 30, 2022. Image by @WVLTPat.

In a 10 a.m. briefing on Thursday officials said the wildfire southwest of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which is being referred to as the Indigo Lane Fire and Hatcher Mountain Fire, has burned 3,700 acres and “affected 100 structures.” Five fire apparatus vehicles were damaged.

The blaze is in the Wears Valley community of Sevier County six miles northwest of Gatlinburg.

In addition to local fire departments, resources have responded from 70 agencies in Middle and Upper East Tennessee as well as the Tennessee National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service. Two incident management teams are on the scene, an interagency team and a state team.

The Sevierville Convention Center, at 202 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, is open as an evacuation shelter for persons displaced by the fire.

As the strong weather system moved through the area Wednesday night the weather station at Cove Mountain recorded winds out of the south-southeast and south with sustained speeds of 38 mph at midnight. The relative humidity rose from a low of 16 percent Wednesday afternoon to 92 percent at 6 a.m. Thursday. Less than 1/10 inch of rain fell at that station and another at Pigeon Forge. At 9 a.m. Thursday the wind at Cove Mountain was 21 mph from the south-southwest with 81 percent RH.

The spot weather forecast from the National Weather Service Thursday morning predicts mostly sunny skies with a slight chance of scattered sprinkles late in the morning, minimum RH of 45 percent, and southwest winds 9 to 14 mph with gusts to
around 30 mph.

10:38 p.m. ET March 30, 2022

Map of fire SW of Pigeon Forge
The icons on the map at the black arrow represent heat on the wildfire southwest of Pigeon Forge, TN detected by a satellite March 30, 2022 as late as about 9 p.m. ET.

A new fire started Wednesday in Sevier County, Tennessee approximately four miles southwest of Pigeon Forge and six miles northwest of Gatlinburg. The County’s Emergency Management department said it is in the Hatcher Mountain Road and Indigo Lane area of  the Wears Valley Community. At about 6 p.m. the department said it had burned approximately 250 acres.

The fire is known as the Hatcher Mountain Road/Indigo Lane Fire according to the Emergency Management department. Some are calling it the Indigo Lane Fire.

Evacuations are in effect. The Pigeon Forge Community Center at 170 Community Center Drive is available for individuals displaced by the fire.

Seiver County Evacuation area, 9 p.m. March 30, 2022
Seiver County Evacuation area, 9 p.m. March 30, 2022. By Seiver County Emergency Management Agency. An interactive zoomable version of the map can be found online.

According to Sevier County Emergency Management, after visiting the website with the above evacuation map, users can type their address into the window to see if they are within the evacuation area.

The fire was pushed Wednesday afternoon by winds recorded at the Indian Grave weather station gusting out of the southwest at up to 36 mph while the relative humidity was 30 percent — at one point reaching as low as 22 percent.

The National Weather Service’s spot weather forecast for the incident predicts that a line of showers will move into the fire area bringing about half an inch of precipitation between 3 and 6 a.m. ET Thursday. But until then, on Wednesday night the relative humidity will be in the 30s and 40s with very strong winds out of the southwest at 15 to 18 mph with gusts of 40 to 60 mph. This could lead to significant fire spread toward the northeast before the showers begin. About half an inch of rainfall is expected early Thursday morning.

Thursday afternoon the humidity will be in the 50s with 10 to 14 mph southwest winds gusting to 29 mph.

Another fire that started March 26 about 17 miles south of Gatlinburg near Bryson City and Whittier, the Thomas Divide Fire, has burned 948 acres. Part of it is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A Type 2 Incident Management Team, the Southern Area Gold Team, has been mobilized. Very little current information is available about this fire. It is possible that the strong winds on Wednesday affected the incident.

The Park closed some roads on Wednesday due to the prediction, they said, for sustained winds between 40 to 50 mph with gusts up to 90 mph. The wind was expected to make travel hazardous due to trees being blown down.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Wildfire prompts evacuations southwest of Pigeon Forge, TN”

  1. This is our favorite place to come, love it down there, sure hope no one get hurt or worse. Goodluck to all those fighting the fire.

  2. Several apparatus and a dozer lost on the Wears Valley fire; dozer operator burned and flown out.

    Massive mutual aid response via TN Mutual Aid Systen.


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