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Smoke billows from the remains of a home on the northern outskirts of Gatlinburg, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. A devastating wildfire destroyed numerous homes and buildings on Monday. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)

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.

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