Rain dampens wildfire near Great Smoky Mountains - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rain dampens wildfire near Great Smoky Mountains

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? Fire crews try to keep a contain on large fire on Black Bear Cub Way in Sevier County Tenn., Sunday March 17, 2013. By 8:00 p.m. 32 cabins were reported burned and another 40 in danger. (AP Photo/The Mountain Press, Curt Habraken) ? Fire crews try to keep a contain on large fire on Black Bear Cub Way in Sevier County Tenn., Sunday March 17, 2013. By 8:00 p.m. 32 cabins were reported burned and another 40 in danger. (AP Photo/The Mountain Press, Curt Habraken)
? Firefighters set a boundary as cabins burn on Black Bear Cub Way in Sevier County, Tenn Sunday March 17, 2013. ? Firefighters set a boundary as cabins burn on Black Bear Cub Way in Sevier County, Tenn Sunday March 17, 2013.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) — Heavy rains have helped firefighters gain control of a Tennessee wildfire that burned nearly 60 rental cabins in a resort area near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener says three downpours hae allowed firefighters to get the fire outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park under control Monday.

He said a small crew would remain on duty overnight but many firefighters were being pulled back. Earlier Monday, National Guard helicopters had been scooping up water from nearby lakes and air dropping it on the flames.

The fire burned about 160 acres, forcing the evacuation of up to 200 people who had been staying in cabins in the area. There had been two minor injuries but no deaths.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier AP story, read below.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) — A wildfire burning in a resort area outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in eastern Tennessee has destroyed more than 30 large rental cabins.

The 145-acre fire was first reported around 5 p.m. EDT Sunday in Sevier County, said Ben Bryson, a fire resources coordinator with the Tennessee Division of Forestry. Smoke was reported to be visible from 25 miles away.

Bryson said early Monday that the fire was contained and not expected to spread.

Some of the cabins were occupied and about 150 to 200 people were evacuated, but no injuries were reported, Bryson said.

After dawn Monday, two Tennessee Air National Guard helicopters took off from nearby McGhee Tyson Airport. A state Forestry Division spokesman said the helicopters would be used to scoop up water from Douglas Lake and drop it on the fire.

"We did have it jump a fire line overnight, but it's contained this morning," said Capt. Benny Pickens of the Sevierville Fire Department on Monday.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a state emergency Monday morning to make resources available, said Dean Flener, a TEMA spokesman. The declaration did not mean the situation was escalating, Flener said.

National Weather Service forecasters predict a 90 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms Monday and Monday night in the mountain region.

Pickens said the wind often associated with thunderstorms could be a problem for firefighting efforts.

"That's going to be harmful, but if mother nature drops some rain on it, that will be very much appreciated," Pickens said.

A survey team was checking Monday to determine specifically how many cabins burned. Pickens said many of the structures were rental cabins.

At the height of the fire, about 100 firefighters from about 30 fire departments were battling the blaze.

The area is home to country star Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park, which Bryson said was not being threatened by the fire. Dollywood was the site of a separate brush fire Saturday night but park officials said that fire would not affect the season opening this weekend.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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