September 09, 2020

According to the lawsuit, “The United States failed to carry that burden because it did not provide evidence showing that it performed required conduct.”

A federal judge has ruled the National Park Service may hold some financial responsibility for failing to inform Gatlinburg residents of details associated with the wildfires that ravaged the area in 2016.

According to the lawsuit, “The United States failed to carry that burden because it did not provide evidence showing that it performed required conduct.”

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer denied the National Park Service’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by survivors of the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires.

Greer stated the National Park Service failed to notify park neighbors, visitors and local residents of all planned and unplanned fire management activities that had the potential to impact them.

During the fires, nearly 2,500 homes were destroyed estimating to $2 billion in damages. Officials said the fires claimed the lives of 14 individuals.

Greer said Park Fire Management Officer Greg Salansky did not warn Gatlinburg officials of the threat of the fire until Nov. 28, five days after the fire had started. According to the lawsuit, Salansky informed individuals of the threat of the fire on Nov. 28 in an E-Blast press release and social media releases.

The complete story can be accessed here.