The Washington Post interviewed geography professor Henri Grissino-Mayer for a story examining the future of Gatlinburg following a wildfire that devastated a considerable area around the mountain town.
Grissino-Mayer told the publication that local lore holds that the mountains are called the Smokies because of the clouds and fog. But before the park was established in 1934, the mountains burned all the time, he said. Meanwhile, the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge kept expanding into burn zones.
“I will tell you it’s going to happen again,” Grissino-Mayer said. “These forests are supposed to burn. It might not happen till 10 years from now, but it will. And they [people] will rebuild from this. It’s what we do. In the face of catastrophe, we want to show how resilient we are as humans.”
Grissino-Mayer also continued to talk to local and national media outlets about his research that has predicted a large wildfire in the Gatlinburg area for years. They include WATE-TV Channel 6, WGNTV Chicago, WNCN Raleigh, WDEF Chattanooga.