Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows our pretty Montenegro LILIES blooming on our deck this Summer.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Some GOOD News after the Gatlinburg, Tennessee Wildfires of November, 2016

George standing on the porch of the Noah  "Bud"  OGLE  Cabin, historical old farm near Gatlinburg,  TN  (1/17/16)
Most of you know that our area experienced an extreme drought for about 5 months in late summer/fall.   Because of this,  there were many devastating wildfires all around the area in October and November...  BUT---one of these horrible wildfires will be plastered in my mind forever.  The worst wildfire was the one which TWO JUVENILES SET in the mountains near the Chimneys area off of Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, NC.

Little did these two IDIOT KIDS know when they set that fire was that a huge weather system would bring 85 mph winds to that area --which then caused the fires to explode all over that mountain and head directly toward a wonderful old tourist town in the mountains,  named GATLINBURG,  TN.

I have been going to Gatlinburg and the Smokies almost all of my life,  and feel as if that area is truly a part of me and my history and family.  When the fires happened,  I thought I had lost some of my family.  The fire damaged and devastated so many homes/businesses/cabins/and LIVES --as it reeked havoc on the entire town and areas around Gatlinburg.

On January 17 and 18,  George and I made a trip to Gatlinburg  (as we usually always do this time of year).  While there,  we checked out many areas which had been devastated by the fires... It was SO SO SO SAD to see these areas.

BUT--there is always good to come out of bad!   Here's some of the good:
-the beautiful little downtown area of Gatlinburg (for the most part) was NOT damaged (even though the fire came so very very close)
-the people there who lost SO much tell such wonderful, heart-felt stories of strength and faith  (amazing how the strength of people can help us)
-the woods/mountains will come back;  That is just NATURE.

I'm sure there are many many GOOD stories,  but today,  I'm sharing another GOOD story for you.... See that picture at the top?????  That is the Noah "Bud" Ogle old home-place,  originally built in 1879.  This old historical landmark is located on Cherokee Orchard Road  not far from downtown Gatlinburg.  George and I were anxious to see it ---and were THRILLED that the old home and barn  somehow made it through the fires (although it's obvious that the fires had been all around that area).  I cried with JOY when we saw this piece of history in ONE PIECE.

I will share pictures of our little hike in and around the Ogle Cabin on 1/17...   It's sad to see the fire damage ---but it was GREAT to see that cabin in tact!!!!

Old Fireplace inside the home

I stood on the back porch looking at how close the fire came. Wooooo.

I love this old chimney.  Have you ever seen one like this?

Here's another angle of the back side of the cabin.   Can you see how close the fires were?  YIPES.

We hiked a loop trail around the back of the Ogle property.  Some areas were totally undamaged by the fire.  Isn't the creek pretty?

Then we saw many areas just like this... So sad.

And this......

But then,  we'd see this!!!!!!  (Amazing how the fires moved around --missing some things and damaging others;  It was those 85 mph swirling winds I'm sure.)

The hike ended above the house near the barn.  

This is the barn ---so you can see how close the fires came to it also. YIPES.

I love this old fireplace in another room inside the house.

Here's another picture taken from inside the house looking at some of the fire devastation.

Just have to share one more picture of a tree damaged or destroyed by the wildfire...  

Finally, the beautiful   OGLE CABIN ----still standing and still beautiful
I will admit that seeing the damage around the Gatlinburg area was heart-breaking ---but I am glad I visited there.  It brought some closure for me,  as hard as it was.  BUT---this post today is to help you (all of us) to see that GOOD THINGS can come from tragedy.

Continue to pray for the people of Gatlinburg.   Cleaning up and rebuilding will take lots of time and money and effort.  Volunteers are always needed...



Ginny Hartzler said...

The little creek with the mossy rocks is just divine. This is all a small patch of Americana. And it is almost spooky how the fire came right up to the cabin, but did not touch it! Just maybe SOMEONE had His hand on it. How did they know about the boys? Did they find them? Are they charging them? A misspent youth for sure. How awful and senseless.

diane b said...

That is such good news to hear that the cabin was saved. Bushfires are the most frightening thing to see and sad to see the damage. I can imagine how bad you felt when you heard of the fires in your favourite place. After being there myself , I also feel sad about the devastation. Were other cabins saved as well?

linda m said...

I can't believe how close the fire came to that building and there was so little damage if any. I too am so saddened by the thoughtless actions of those young boys. God in His mysterious ways has brought the people of Gatlinburg together in Faith and Love. Thanks for sharing your trip there with us.

Liene said...

I believe many of the cabins were sites of "backburns"... firefighters intentionally lit the woodsline off so that the fire would be low intensity and controllable, moving inward to meet the out-of-control blaze that was headed its way. The most dangerous aspect would be sparks on the roof - those could land from miles away. I'm sure they wet down the structures to keep that from happening. It wasn't so easy in Gatlinburg, where many structures weren't as defensible (one way roads, fuel right up to the homes etc) and there was less warning. Dreadful, what happened, but I hope that the local government does learn a lesson (at the expensive cost of many lives) for future construction, and the Park Service for future prescribed burns (which remove the fuel that has built up). I want to add that the pictures of the charred trunks don't necessarily mean they won't survive - pines, especially are fire tolerant species, and the Appalachian mountain forest is one that thrives on fire - when it isn't catastrophic, which this one most definitely was in some areas. This spring the region will see a rebirth, and although some of the areas that saw more intense fire will take longer to regenerate, don't think of it as complete devastation... I weep in sadness for the lives lost, but in relief that no firefighters died, and in happiness for fire returning to the Smokies ecosystem. Take care! (I was a wildland firefighter in my previous life... it was very hard to sit by idly while the Carolinas burned this fall)

Linda Gross said...

Dreadful what happened. I am happy that the cabin still stands. The interior pictures of the cabin you shared make it look familiar to me. I don't believe we visited that cabin, though, when we were in Gatlinburg several years ago.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

You know how special this place is to us, as well. We followed the progress of the fires and the devastation online. We're also members of the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and have been so grateful to learn that no historic structures in the park were destroyed, although some suffered damage from the strong winds and blowdowns. But, as grateful as we are at that news, our gratitude is tempered by the knowledge of the destruction of homes, businesses, and lives in the Gatlinburg area. Thanks so much for sharing these images from the Roaring Forks area. We'd been concerned about the Ogle cabin, too.

George said...

You did a great job summarizing our visit to the Ogle cabin. It was great to see that cabin intact and unharmed. Our hike on the Nature Trail was fascinating -- fun in spite of the devastation we saw. It was great to see the 'Mountain Strong' spirit of the area during our visit.

Ann Thompson said...

How sad that a moment of careless behavior can result in so much damage. Glad the cabin wasn't destroyed. It sure got close though.

Susie said...

Hey Betsy

Love these pics and so glad to see the cabin didn't burn down but that fire was so close.

I wanted to let you know that I deactivated my FB account for now. Couldn't stand all the ugliness on it. I found myself angry after being on it.

So I decided to try my hand at blogging again. Took me forever to try and figure it out again and it's a bit old but will be trying to update it.


Anne Jeffries said...

Thank you, Betsy, for telling this sad story. While much was destroyed, much survived and now thrives. So glad you kept to your schedule and went back.

Arkansas Patti said...

Amazing how close the fire came but the historic home was spared. I have been wondering how that area had fared. Sadly when it is no longer news worthy, we are left to wonder. Thanks for an update.

Lowcarb team member said...

Fire can destroy so much and I've seen it written so often how it seems to jump about and no-one is really sure what building may be spared.

It was good to see your photo's and read about your trip.

I've read this post and also read your update ... thank you

All the best Jan

Serenity Cove said...

Thanks for this post Betsy. It's amazing that place was spared. It looks like it was almost surrounded by fire. Did all the historic places survive along Roaring Fork? Also so happy the Mt Leconte Lodge was spared. Planning a hike up there this year. We haven't been able to make it down there in a few years so I'm really looking forward to going again.

Cheryl Lorrain said...

No one can EVER take away God's beauty. How sad it is to see such destruction but time will bring new beauty. What beautiful country where you live, I would love to visit. I've been to Memphis area to see Mr. B but it was only three days. I would love to explore the area where you go to the cabin yearly.

Rose said...

Oh, Betsy, I am glad it survived...and I did enjoy seeing the photos. Though at the same time I could cry. I cannot imagine being there and losing everything I have.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I finally have time to visit blogs.I watched in horror as those fires were burning.I am glad to hear first hand that there is still good that has and is coming out of this.Good to see that this old cabin was spared as well.

Jeevan said...

Glad to see the cabin still standing strong despite the devastating wildfires... it’s obvious what a damage it created to that area of woods. The burnt trees really bear the pain and looks like its nature’s grace to keep away certain area from fire to let flow like the little streams. It couldn’t be a happy moment to see what’s close to heart to be damage. I really liked the way fireplace is built without the fire to be damaging the wood house.

Hope nature blooms back again and life returns to normalcy

Connie said...

So sad to see the damage from the fires there. It's good to see that the old cabin came through and is still there.

David said...

Betsy, Wow! It was a stroke of luck or fate that the Ogle cabin and barn didn't go up in flames... The slate roof may have helped the cabin but that old wood in the cabin and barn had to be very dry and flammable! Beautiful area... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! That was amazingly close. Great post Betsy. Love the story about the cabin.