Even the deadly wildfires that struck Sevier County in late November and early December could not hold back a record number of visitors from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Officials say that 11.3 million visited the park in 2016. That’s about a 5.6 percent increase from attendance in 2015. Tourist support is more important than ever following the fires which started in the park, swept through Gatlinburg and parts of Pigeon Forge. 14 people were killed, 17,000 acres burned and over 2400 buildings were damaged or destroyed.