Posted on November 30, 2016
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 30, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today joined The Weather Channel’s America’s Morning Headquarters where he talked about the wildfires in Sevier County and praised the community for its response efforts.
“This is a small resort town in the foot of the Smoky Mountains. Many people know about Gatlinburg. They have their honeymoons there, and they visit there. The fire came out of the mountains, out of the Great Smoky Mountains, with winds as high as 80 or 90 miles an hour and just swept through town,” Alexander said. “But the response has been almost as incredible as the fire. There are more than 100 fire trucks from all over Tennessee. There are volunteers, guardsmen, troopers, people bringing water and people bringing money. So, it’s a strong little town and the mayors, Mayor Waters and Mayor Werner, are keeping their chins up, and people are looking forward to recovery.”
Alexander continued, “The federal government can do two things. First thing it can do is help the community put out the fire. The National Park Service, the State of Tennessee and Governor Haslam of Tennessee were on the spot almost immediately. The governor has several agencies there. The Red Cross is there. So the federal government can help local governments put out the fire, clean up and then work with the State to begin to help people recover.”
When asked about the impact of the wildfires on tourism, Alexander replied, “Of course this is a concern, but both mayors would want me to say, the town will be back fast. Dollywood is nearby…the Great Smoky Mountains get about 10 million visitors a year - they’ll be back.”
For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.