As a native Tennessean, I’ve been watching with awe as Gatlinburg has regrouped and rebuilt in the wake of the late-2016 wildfires. Tennesseans are tough and resilient and inclined to pitch in and help each other, and that catastrophe put that into the foreground once again.
Months later, we’re seeing a more clear picture of the damage that occurred as those wildfires moved through 16,000 acres around the Great Smoky Mountains.
The most heartbreaking: 14 lives lost. The fires also damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 structures, and led to upwards of $1 billion in damages. Fighting the fire cost more than $8.8 million, and in just the month of December, tourism revenue in the area was off by $19 million.
Some Gatlinburg residents and business owners still face extra struggles, too, because of uninsured or under-insured properties.
Every part of that is heartbreaking to me, but the latter is where I think I can be of some help, in sharing information about getting adequate insurance, and helping my neighbors in Nashville understand (and get) the coverage they need.Read More