On Tennessee wildfires, officials estimate $500m in damage

14 confirmed fatalities and over 2,400 confirmed structures lost or damaged in Sevier County

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Local officials estimate that deadly wildfires in East Tennessee have caused more than $500 million in damage.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters released the estimate Monday for the wildfires in the Gatlinburg area that killed 14 people.

Officials say 2,460 structures were destroyed or damaged, including more than 2,100 homes and almost 60 businesses destroyed.

Also on Monday, Deputy Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Clay Jordan said officials believe there was no way to control the fire in the park before extreme winds brought it into the Gatlinburg area Nov. 28.

Jordan also said there was no number of firefighters or fire trucks that could have stopped the spread of the fires in those wind conditions, which reached gusts about 87 miles per hour.

See more: Continuing coverage on Gatlinburg area wildfire recovery 

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)\

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