Over the past few days, the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park region in Tennessee have been struck by a series of devastating wildfires. Firefighters from all over the region worked day and night to battle the flames that were fueled by extreme drought levels and one of the most heavily wooded areas in the southeast.
Over 14,000 people have been evacuated this week, and over 700 structures have been destroyed. Now, many residents are returning to find that their homes have been burned to the ground.
While the great people of Tennessee have pulled together to assist their friends, families, and neighbors, there is so much that we can all do to help these communities in their time of need.
MTV has compiled this list of places that people can make donations online:
Donate to the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless to help people who have lost their homes to the fire.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has set up a disaster relief fund for Gatlinburg.
Save the Children is collecting donations to help kids displaced by the fires and their families.
Donate to the Sevier County Humane Society to help shelters that are taking in animals and those that will need to rebuild when the fires pass. At least one shelter was in the path of the fire and had to evacuate its animals.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Gatlinburg. Your community, like the mountains, will soon bloom again.