Delayed Evacuation

Following the Tennessee wildfires, many residents were left wondering why there was such much delay between the identification of the fires as a threat, and the announcement of an evacuation order. Said local Tim Gay, when asked about any notification or warning from state or federal authorities, “We got nothing. Our warning was opening the front door of that cabin and looking at the orange glow.”

Although the decision to evacuate Gatlinburg was made on — November 28 at 9:07 PM, notifications were lacking –- text message alerts were not issued, and evacuation orders were not issued over radio or television until after the fire was already around downtown Gatlinburg.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency remains under a gag order, as investigations into what went wrong continue.