7 deaths confirmed as Great Smokies wildfires spread in Tennessee

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Seven people have died as wildfires raging in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee continued spreading, authorities said Wednesday.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters confirmed three new deaths at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. No identities were released because the victims' families hadn't been notified.

Images of wildfires raging in Tennessee

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Wildfires raging in Tennessee
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Wildfires raging in Tennessee
Firefighters stand by a destroyed home after a wildfire forced the mandatory evacuation of Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a picture released November 30, 2016. Tennessee Highway Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Troopers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol help residents leave an area under threat of wildfire after a mandatory evacuation was ordered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a picture released November 30, 2016. Tennessee Highway Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Smoke plumes from wildfires are shown in the Great Smokey Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, U.S., November 28, 2016. Photo taken November 28, 2016. Courtesy of National Park Services Staff/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A wildfire burns on a hillside after a mandatory evacuation was ordered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a picture released November 30, 2016. Tennessee Highway Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Troopers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol help residents leave an area under threat of wildfire after a mandatory evacuation was ordered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in a picture released November 30, 2016. Tennessee Highway Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Motorists stop to view wildfires in the Great Smokey Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, U.S., November 28, 2016. Photo taken November 28, 2016. Courtesy of National Park Services Staff/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: Residents including Tyler Alden (2nd R) and Caleb Graves (R) gather to clear debris and put out small fires near surrounding homes as the remains of their neighbors' homes smolder after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: The remains of a business smolders after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Residents Kirk Wallace, Caleb Graves and Tyler Alden gather to clear debris and put out small fires near surrounding homes as the remains of their neighbors' homes smolder after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: The remains of a home smolders after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: The remains of homes and vehicles smolder after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: Emergency vehicles race by the remains of businesses and homes as they smolder after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Residents Kirk Wallace, Caleb Graves and Tyler Alden gather to clear debris and put out small fires near surrounding homes as the remains of their neighbors' homes smolder after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 29: The remains of a Jeep rental business smolders after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed after drought conditions helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 30: Smoke fills the air and surrounds businesses and resorts in the wake of a wildfire November 30, 2016 in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Drought conditions and high winds helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 30: Smoke fills the air and surrounds businesses and resorts in the wake of a wildfire November 30, 2016 in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Drought conditions and high winds helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
GATLINBURG, TN - NOVEMBER 30: Smoke fills the air and surrounds businesses and resorts in the wake of a wildfire November 30, 2016 in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Drought conditions and high winds helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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A firefighter suffered minor injuries, and 45 people have been treated at LaConte Medical Center, Waters said. He didn't know the conditions of the patients, but he said "many were already released."

The National Park Service said more than 17,000 acres have been burned in the area, almost 11,000 of them on National Park lands.

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Major threatened areas include Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, popular resort towns that lead into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Forge is home to Dollywood, the theme park named for country music superstar Dolly Parton.

The park wasn't damaged, a spokesman said, but the fire was perilously close.

Parton, a native of Sevier County, had released a public service announcement with Smokey Bear on Sunday just hours before the wildfires erupted. She warned of forest fires and troubling drought conditions.

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for update.

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