The 2016 Great Smoky Mountain Wildfires are being called the result of a “Perfect Storm,” by many in the meteorological and forestry community. This paper is an evaluation of weather features leading up to the 2016 Great Smoky Mountain Fires. The spread of the Chimney Tops 2 fire, initially sparked by humans, was the direct result of hours of wind, months of drought, and years of fire suppression in the GSMNP.
In addition to the meteorological events leading up to the fires, relaying information to the public was crucial. Power outages blocked exit routes, damaged communication towers and the spread of misinformation were just a few of the hurdles trying to keep the public safe. The main purpose of this presentation is to help meteorologists and broadcasters learn from this event and improve our methods of disseminating accurate information.