Tennessee hiring wildfire victims with $5.8m federal grant

FILE - In this June 24, 2013 file photo, fire-promoting beetle-killed trees mix with live trees as a wildfire burns west of Creede, Colo. Foresters say the number of standing dead trees in Colorado is increasing steadily, threatening to make wildfires worse and to degrade vital water supplies that flow from forested mountains. The Colorado State Forest Service said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 that the state has an estimated 834 million standing dead trees, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee officials are using a federal grant to provide cleanup work to people who lost their jobs after deadly wildfires.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Walters State Community College have begun distributing the $5.8 million for jobs addressing wildfire destruction around Gatlinburg.

The grant makes $2 million immediately available in Sevier County, with $3.8 million available incrementally this year if additional funding is justified.

The application period began Friday for jobs that could last until December. Applicants would work for Sevier County, the city of Gatlinburg, Sevierville Solid Waste Inc., the Sevier County Humane Society and the National Park Service.

The November wildfires killed 14 people and ravaged homes and businesses.

To apply, contact the American Job Center in Sevierville; call 865-286-6378 or email Frances.Valentinews.edu.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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