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Open for business: Signs point to recovery after wildfires

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In this aerial photo, smoke rises from destroyed buildings Tuesday at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa above Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the day after a wildfire. Paul Efird/News Sentinel In this aerial photo, smoke rises from destroyed buildings Tuesday at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa above Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the day after a wildfire. Paul Efird/News Sentinel

By ADAM BEAM and JONATHAN MATTISE
Associated Press

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - The charred city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is still days away from reopening after devastating and deadly wildfires, but all around the city, communities in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains are welcoming back residents and visitors.

In Pigeon Forge, the Comedy House rented an electronic billboard message that said it was open for laughs, and a flyer at a hotel urged guests to check out the scenic Cades Cove loop.

Dollywood, the amusement park named after country music legend and native Dolly Parton, will reopen Friday afternoon after it was spared any damage.

In Gatlinburg, the center of the devastation, residents and business owners get their first chance Friday to see whether their properties withstood the blaze that killed 11 people and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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