Health Experts say survivors of Gatlinburg fires still face danger

Great Smoky Mountains NPS
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WBKO) -- Mental health experts are saying that escaping a fire-filled forest, as thousands of locals and tourists did in late November, can be more traumatic than hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes.

They say one reason this is, is because fire ignites and spreads so rapidly that people have no time to prepare and brace their nerves for it.

Experts say that the survivors of those wildfires need to be wary of the many dangers they could be facing in the days, weeks, or even months following the event.

Those dangers are post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and suicide.

They say the images of flames draped across homes and lands of sentimental value could haunt residents of the Gatlinburg area for a very long time.

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