Three more bodies were found in the ruins of wildfires that torched hundreds of homes and businesses in the Great Smoky Mountains area of Tennessee, raising the death toll to seven, the AP reports. Search-and-rescue missions continued, and Sevier County mayor Larry Waters said they had found three people who had been trapped since the fires started spreading wildly in high winds on Monday night. The mayor said the three were OK. "That is some good, positive news for a change," he said. The mayor said authorities are still working to identify the dead and did not release any details about how they were killed. State law enforcement set up a hotline for people to report missing friends and family. Officials have not said how many people they believe are missing.
Three brothers being treated at a Nashville hospital said they had not heard from their parents since they were separated while fleeing the fiery scene during their vacation. Gatlinburg police chief Randall Brackins said they have searched about 30% or less of the city so far. More than 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg on Monday night, and many of them are still nervously awaiting word of when they can get back in the city to see if they still have homes. Storms moved through the area Wednesday. Officials in the Gatlinburg welcomed the rain but were worried about mudslides, rock slides, and high winds knocking trees onto power lines, perhaps creating new fires similar to the deadly ones that sparked Monday night. (Read more wildfires stories.)