Washington, – Wildfires in the US state of Tennessee that killed seven people and destroyed hundreds of structures were “human-caused,” officials said Thursday.

“The wildfire was human-caused and is currently under investigation at this time,” the Southern Area Red Incident Management Team, which has assumed command over fighting the blaze, said in a statement, dpa reported.

The fires continued to burn in nearly 70 square kilometres in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The blaze has damaged or destroyed more than 700 structures in Sevier County, 300 of which were in the town of Gatlinburg, broadcaster NBC reported.

The original fire started a week ago, which led to further blazes starting up in the dry conditions since then.

A total of 285 personnel are fighting the blaze.

Rain provided some relief on Wednesday and Tennessee emergency authorities said that all wildfires in Gatlinburg were now extinguished, though some were still smoldering.

The speed and size of the fires meant that many people fled with little more than the clothes they were wearing.

A local mayor described the blaze as a “once-in-a-lifetime event.” Local authorities said Tuesday that 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg and the neighbouring resort town of Pigeon Forge.

Source: Qatar News Agency