Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE!!!! Enjoy a group of one of my favorite Day Lilies in our yard. Meet "INDIAN GIVER".

Monday, January 30, 2017

Follow Up to my Blog Post today about the Gatlinburg Fires

Dollywood was spared in the Gatlinburg Fires   (Internet photo)
Be sure to read my other post first  (click HERE)  --- and you may even have more comments/questions.

I decided to write this 'follow-up' talking more about some of your comments and questions.  Here are some additional thoughts.

1.  I'm not sure how they caught the juveniles who set the fire ---but they DID.   Since they are juveniles,  we have heard NOTHING else about them --who they are,  where they are from,  etc.  Since they are being 'tried' as juveniles,  I'm not sure IF we will ever hear anything about them.  For the life of me,  I cannot understand why they set that fire.... Of course,  they probably had no idea what would happen.  Wonder if they regret doing what they did now?  I HOPE SO.  

I know that, as a Christian,  we are taught to have understanding and forgiveness...  I do forgive them --but will NEVER forget what they did.

2. I read that all of the historical cabins in the Smokies were saved... I'm sure they put a priority on saving that history ---and George and I think that the Ogle Cabin and Barn could easily have been destroyed except for the work of hard-working firefighters --who were there to spray water on the cabins and keep the embers from jumping onto roofs.... Thanks for our firefighters...

3.  There IS so much love, faith, compassion and forgiveness coming from the people who live or lived in and around the Gatlinburg area.  It is amazing how a tragedy brings people together..

Seeing the people of Gatlinburg working so hard to make a living for themselves and others  made me think about all of the people in our country who are not working and who (many of them) are out there protesting one thing or another.  I wish all of those people would put their energies into helping the people of Gatlinburg (and many other places around our country) who so desperately need help.

4.   Yes---our woods will come back.... I know about controlled burns ---since we see them frequently.   Controlled Burns are GOOD for the woods..   Things will come back --will even be healthier!!!!

5.  Gatlinburg is a small mountain town sitting RIGHT up against the mountains.   People have built homes or cabins all over those mountain ranges...  Since one cannot built inside the national parks,  there's not many areas left in and around Gatlinburg...  Since tourism is such a booming business there,  the growth has happened on the north and eastern sides of Gatlinburg  (in areas around Pigeon Forge,  Sevierville and Cosby).

Sometimes,  as an old-timer who just loves the mountains and who doesn't love the water-slides and other tourist shows and entertainment areas,   I am sorry that so many cabins have been built in such a small area.  Disasters happen ---and this was the 'perfect storm' for a little place like Gatlinburg.

6. This fire storm happened SO quickly --and there really wasn't much time for people to prepare or in many cases even LEAVE for safety.  The embers were jumping from area to area --and once the storm got to an area,  it would QUICKLY just burn everything in its path as it barreled down that mountain range into a 'holler' where there were many homes/cabins.

But--as I said,  we would see one house burned to the ground and the house next door wasn't touched...  The fire just jumped around depending upon the winds....

7. I hope that Liene is correct when she said that some of the charred trees (that I pictured)  will or may come back...  I hope so... I do know that some trees are much more resilient than others... George and I will go back to that area around the Ogle Cabin in a year ---and I'll let you know what we find...

8. Linda (Behold the Beauty),  I know how much you also love the Smokies... I am anxious to see the Roaring Forks area --once they open it up in the Spring... I'll keep you posted.   I will tell you that the trail to Rainbow Falls was OPEN ---so that is good news.   (By the way,  you two need to get down this way soon so that you can have some closure after seeing the area..)

Thanks for your comments.. They mean so much to me!!!!!

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...