3 dead after wildfire rages in U.S. Tennessee resort towns

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- A wildfire sweeping through the central U.S. state of Tennessee have killed three people and destroyed more than 150 buildings, a local official said Tuesday.

"We do not have further information on them at this time," Sevier County mayor Larry Waters told reporters, adding the relatives of the dead were being contacted.

The wind-swept wildfire raged across Tennessee which has suffered exceptional drought in past months, damaging more than 100 buildings in resort towns around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

More than 14,000 people fled overnight from the town of Gatlinburg alone. The fire damaged more than 150 buildings there, including a 16-story hotel and an apartment complex, said the state's emergency management agency and local officials.

Local TV networks previously reported that at least 12 people were treated for severe burns and other non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals.

Sustained winds were at 48-64 kilometers per hour for about 10 to 12 hours overnight, said Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash, who called the area inferno "unprecedented."

More than 400 firefighters have been deployed since Monday night in shifts to fight the fire, said local media.

[ Editor: Jiaming ]


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