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Henri Grissino Mayer, a professor of geography and an expert who uses tree rings to determine wildfire patterns, spoke to the Knoxville News Sentinel following Firewise, a Pigeon Forge meeting aimed at helping residents be engaged in the process of minimizing the potential of a wildfire.

Grissino-Mayer, who predicted Pigeon Forge would be the next victim of forest fires, is sharing his expertise with officials so they know how to better prepare should they face a similar wildfire that devastated Gatlinburg in November 2016. He considered Pigeon Forge’s quest for Firewise USA certification “part of the healing process and the recovery process,” he said.

Grissino-Mayer told the News Sentinel that for decades he has shared his knowledge of wildfires at academic conferences and with wildland forest fighters. But he didn’t see any improvements in the communities most threatened by potential mega-fires sweeping from national forests.

“These are the people I need to talk with,” he said motioning toward the residents and business owners at the Firewise presentation. “This helps to make sure when the next wildfire occurs – and there will be another wildfire – there will be less damage.” Read the full story online.