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Huge fire forces evacuations near national park in Tennessee, arson suspected

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 8:28
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A roaring 500-acre fire is threatening structures in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where officials have ordered mandatory evacuations. Roads near Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed, as firefighters battle the flames and gusty winds. 

“It’s very dangerous weather conditions,” Dana Soehn with the National Park Service told WATE.

“We’ve had trees coming down, limbs coming down and the fire is continuing to grow.”

Residents have been evacuated to a Red Cross shelter at the Gatlinburg Community Center, while Rocky Top Sports World has also been converted into a shelter.

Officials suspect arson in the fire, which started over the weekend.

Blazes were too close for comfort for people staying at the Park Vista Hilton hotel. They shared harrowing images on Twitter.

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