The death toll has climbed to at least 10 in the massive wildfires that ravaged resort towns in the U.S. state of Tennessee earlier this week, local officials said Thursday.

All the blazes have been extinguished as of Thursday afternoon, though a few “hot spots” remain, they said.

The wildfires also injured at least 80 people, burned more than 17,100 acres of land and devastated towns like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevier County.

About 200 firefighters, together with emergency crews, are still working their way through Gatlinburg, the town’s Fire Chief Greg Miller said Thursday.

“We’re never going to give up hope. I will always hold out hope of a rescue,” he told reporters. “But now we are at hour 65 since the beginning of the fires. We have to come to the realization that the potential is great it will be more of a recovery (of corpses) than a rescue.”

The wildfires might be “human-caused,” local media quoted officials as saying, noting investigations are already under way.

The southern part of Tennessee has suffered exceptional droughts in past months. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/

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