The fires in the Smoky Mountains that engulfed Sevier Country, just outside Knoxville, TN, will be recorded as the largest and most devastating for the state of Tennessee in a century.
As it stands, fires have claimed more than 150 structures in the unincorporated part of the county, and more than 200 in the cities. At least 70 homes have been destroyed, and worst of all, as of Sunday evening, 14 lives have been lost in the inferno.
While the loss has been beyond tragic for the surrounding communities, support has poured in from all across the country from individuals and businesses alike. However, the overwhelming donations of supplies have created a bit of a logistical nightmare, which caused Pigeon Forge officials to request that supplies donations be paused until storage space is secured.
Fortunately, such solutions are now in place.
A warehouse in the former Boyds Bears facility is now serving as the last mile distribution center for donated supplies headed to the victims of the wildfires, while about 25 miles north, Red Stag Fulfillment has opened the doors of its Knoxville warehouse for bulk storage and organization of the truckloads of donated goods en route to the affected areas.
“It’s been powerful to see the community and country come together to help our neighbors in Sevierville. I’m thrilled that we’re able to provide this space and help ensure that these donations reach those in need,” expressed Eric McCollom, president of Red Stag Fulfillment. A truck donated by the Tennessee Tech marching band began delivering supplies to Red Stag’s donated warehouse space on Wednesday, December 7th, and more truckloads are expected to make deliveries from all over the country in the coming days.
“We’ve had semis full of donations in route from Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Virginia… The support has been simply incredible,” said Jerry Loveday, who has been managing the shipments of inbound donations.
Volunteer teams will continue coordinating inbound shipments of supplies for the coming weeks, but for those impacted, the effects of the forest fires will last forever. To donate supplies, your time, or money, please visit MountainTough.org.