KNOXVILLE — When flames ripped through the Great Smoky Mountains and engulfed hotels and houses in and around Gatlinburg, it caught many people by surprise.
But a professor at the University of Tennessee saw it coming. He's been predicting that a devastating wildfire could hit the area for 10 years.
Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, a professor of geography and expert on forest wildfires, began giving a talk called "Will Our Great Smoky Mountains One Day Go Up in Flames?" Some listeners have rolled their eyes during the talk, he said, but he always saw it as a matter of probability.
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