Wildfires Take Emotional Toll in Gatlinburg

By Bonnie Mauldin,

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When U.S. Forest Ranger Jody Bandy confronted the man in the Pisgah National Forest, he said he’d been at the nearby wildfire and “couldn’t take it anymore.”

Then he ran from the officer, tumbling head-over-head down the mountainside, into the river below and slamming into boulders in the water, Bandy said in a court affidavit.

After an ambulance took the bleeding man to a hospital, Bandy peered through the front windshield of his pickup and saw what appeared to be a suicide note on the dash, the affidavit says.

The Nov. 19 encounter in western North Carolina underscores the toll these wildfires can take on people who live through them.

In the video below witness a firefighter navigating through the flames in the Gatlinburg area.

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