Emergency Update: Direct Relief Readies Response to Tennessee Wildfires

As firefighters work to contain wildfires in Eastern Tennessee, Direct Relief has made its inventory available to partner clinics in the area.

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed seven fatalities in Sevier County from the wildfires and has reported up to 45 injuries. Another two fatalities in Polk County were attributed to a series of tornadoes that broke out overnight on Nov. 29.

Wildfires in some areas are still smoldering and the City of Gatlinburg has a mandatory evacuation order in place.

Beyond the immediate danger posed to nearby communities, wildfires can exacerbate chronic health issues such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. For those with such conditions, fires deal a harsh mix of smoke, dust and other particulates in the air.

Direct Relief has kept in regular communication with its network of health facilities in the area, including Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, and stands ready to make its inventory available to clinics and health centers.

Direct Relief maintains an inventory of fire-related items – N-95 particulate masks, inhalers, nebulizers and personal care items – for wildfire events, which are available to partners upon their request.

Check back for additional updates to the situation as it evolves.