Smokies to add $2.5m radio system upgrade after wildfires - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Smokies to add $2.5m radio system upgrade after wildfires

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park will receive a $2.5 million upgrade to its radio communications systems in response to a fire in Tennessee that contributed to 14 deaths and millions of dollars of damage in November.

The National Park Service announced the improvements before Thursday's scheduled release of an independent report about the fire that started in the park and was blown several miles to the Gatlinburg area by hurricane-force winds. The fire merged with others, causing death and destruction.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said the fire resulted from unusual and unexpected conditions.

The Park Service says it also will issue seven neighboring fire departments portable radios and protective equipment, and will try to actively remove dead and dying trees and other fuels for fire.

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