Dolly Par­ton heart­bro­ken by wild­fires torching home­town

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF -

AT­LANTA » Coun­try mu­sic icon Dolly Par­ton says she’s heart­bro­ken about wild­fires that tore through the Ten­nessee county where she grew up but spared the Dol­ly­wood theme park that bears her name.

In a state­ment re­leased Tues­day, Par­ton said she’s been watch­ing the “ter­ri­ble fires” in the Great Smoky Moun­tains. At least 14,000 peo­ple have been forced to evac­u­ate the tourist area of Gatlin­burg, Ten­nessee, and a dozen peo­ple have been in­jured in the wild­fires.

“I am pray­ing for all the fam­i­lies af­fected by the fire and the fire­fight­ers who are work­ing so hard to keep ev­ery­one safe,” she said.

In a video re­leased just hours be­fore the wild­fires en­gulfed Gatlin­burg and ar­eas around Pi­geon Forge, Par­ton urged peo­ple to pre­vent for­est fires, ap­pear­ing with Smokey Bear in the 30-sec­ond video re­leased Sun­day by Great Smoky Moun­tains Na­tional Park.

Dol­ly­wood of­fi­cials said the theme park it­self wasn’t dam­aged but more than a dozen cab­ins op­er­ated by the park were dam­aged or de­stroyed by the wild­fires.

Par­ton is a na­tive of Se­vier County, Ten­nessee, which in­cludes both Gatlin­burg and nearby Pi­geon Forge, ac­cord­ing to his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments on the park’s web­site. In the mid-1980s, Par­ton part­nered with the Her­schend fam­ily who ran the park, then known as Sil­ver Dol­lar City. It opened un­der the new name of Dol­ly­wood in 1986.

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