Country music icon and East Tennessee native Dolly Parton has shared an update on Dollywood amid wildfires ravaging her home state. The singer also expressed support for the victims who have been affected and first responders who are helping.
Parton Expresses Pride For First Responders, Sends Prayers To Victims
The Hatcher Mountain/Indigo Lane fire started on Wednesday and quickly spread to cover 3,700 acres. As of Thursday, the fire was 30% contained, according to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency. The agency has also said that the fire “has affected more than 100 structures.” They estimated that a different fire, the Millstone Gap Fire, has covered 650 acres.
In a statement posted to Twitter and Instagram, Parton wrote, “I’ve been keeping up with everything going on with the fires near my home area. It looks scary on TV, but I’m proud of how everyone in the area has pulled together like they always do. I’m especially proud of the brave men and women who are working to contain the fire.”
“I know there are some folks who have been affected, and I hope that you will join me in saying a prayer for them,” she continued. “During this time, I’ve also remained in touch with my people at @Dollywood who have assured me everything is okay there.”
Parton has not announced any specific organizations she is working with or donating to, but it’s fair to assume that her nonprofit, Dollywood Foundation, will lend a helping hand. The foundation is partnered with Mountain Tough, an organization that is providing resources and support for those affected by the wildfires.
Her Previous Wildfire Aid Efforts
This is not the first time Parton has had to deal with fires close to her home. In 2016, a wildfire near Gatlinburg, TN left hundreds without homes after close to 15,000 acres of land were destroyed.
Parton immediately jumped in to help. “Dolly was on tour and she called in to say ‘What can we do and how quickly can we do it?’” Dollywood Foundation CEO David Dotson told Blue Ridge Public Radio. “Her hometown means so much to her. She always calls it her Smokey Mountain DNA.”
The singer launched the My People Fund, which gave $1,000-a-month stipends to people who were affected by the fires. The fund also gave families six months of financial support as they tried to get back on their feet.
Parton has long been known for her charity work, from her famous Imagination Library reading program to her donations to researchers developing the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s no wonder she’s so universally loved!