By Ralphine Major

It is a place loved by people all over the world. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains is Gatlinburg, a resort where millions go to hike, shop, or just enjoy the beauty of the mountains.
For several days, the Sevier County area has been in the headline news of the national media as wildfires of a magnitude usually seen in the western United States engulfed the area. Hundreds of firefighters from across the country came to help tackle the massive flames. Schools closed. Businesses and homes were evacuated. Destruction appeared all around. Very little rain has fallen in the last few months; and by the time any measurable rain came to the drought-stricken region, thousands of acres and hundreds of structures had already burned. Visitors, residents, pets, and wildlife have been misplaced. Too many lives have been lost to the raging fires.
It has been heartbreaking to see the scenes of devastation in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas. We need to keep all of those affected by this tragic event in our prayers. It will be a long road ahead as they try to restore their lives to normal and bring their beautiful area back to what it once was.