Officials say thousands evacuated, 4 injured from Tennessee wildfires

Firefighter Kevin Zimmer works to control a wildfire Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Clayton, Ga. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Valley Authority issued a burn ban on its public lands across Tennessee and in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Adam Rondeau has said the agency is tracking wildfires that have burned a total of 80,000 acres across the South. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Firefighter Kevin Zimmer works to control a wildfire Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Clayton, Ga. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Valley Authority issued a burn ban on its public lands across Tennessee and in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Adam Rondeau has said the agency is tracking wildfires that have burned a total of 80,000 acres across the South. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Tennessee officials say thousands of residents and visitors in the Gatlinburg area have been evacuated and hundreds of structures have been damaged and destroyed by spreading wildfires.

In a news release Tuesday morning, authorities say three people who suffered severe burns have been transferred from a Knoxville hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, which has a burn unit. A fourth person is being treated for facial burns in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says hundreds of firefighters as well as local and state personnel and National Guard troops have been sent in to help fight the blaze and check on people.

Officials say about 14,000 residents and visitors were evacuated from Gatlinburg alone.

According to the news release, preliminary surveys indicate that Westgate Resorts with more than 100 buildings and Ober Gatlinburg are both likely destroyed.

Authorities said 22 other large wildfires were burning throughout the Southeast U.S.

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