- Wildfires are a natural part of a forest's life cycle
- The development of communities next to large forests puts people at risk
Gatlinburg, Tennessee (CNN)The devastating wildfires that struck this week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, could not have been stopped, experts say.
'Gatlinburg was made to burn'
History in the trees
Smokey Bear: More harm than good?
However, there have been times that Smokey is a good reminder of what things can cause a wildfire -- like cigarette butts and campfires. Recently, Dolly Parton -- who owns Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, near Gatlinburg -- joined Smokey for a public service announcement that taught people how to prevent wildfires.
Could Gatlinburg fires have been prevented?
By the afternoon, based on the forecast winds, fire breaks were bulldozed around neighborhoods thought to be in the path of the fire. By 5 p.m. the fire had reached the city limits.
Just one hour later, Soehn says, the Gatlinburg Fire Department was battling 20 different structure fires.