Dolly Parton heartbroken by wildfires torching her hometown
Country music icon Dolly Parton says she's heartbroken about wildfires that tore through the Tennessee county where she grew up but spared the Dollywood theme park that bears her name.
In a statement released today by her publicists, Dolly said she's been watching the "terrible fires" in the Great Smoky Mountains. At least 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate the tourist area of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Three people were killed in the wildfires and more than a dozen others were injured, authorities said.
"I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe," she said.
In a video released just hours before the wildfires engulfed Gatlinburg and areas around Pigeon Forge, Dolly urged people to prevent forest fires.
Dolly appears with Smokey Bear in the 30-second video released on Sunday by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She tells people to avoid burning leaves and parking vehicles on dry grass, and warns that even a campfire can spark a wildfire.
Dollywood officials said the theme park itself wasn't damaged but more than a dozen cabins operated by the park were damaged or destroyed by the wildfires.
Dolly is scheduled to appear on NBC's The Voice on Tuesday night, her representatives had previously announced. She will perform her 1973 hit song Jolene with Miley Cyrus and Pentatonix.
Dolly is a native of Sevier County, Tennessee, which includes both Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge, according to historical documents on the park's website. In the mid-1980s, Dolly partnered with the Herschend family who ran the park, then known as Silver Dollar City. It opened under the new name of Dollywood in 1986.