A south St. Louis County woman wept Tuesday thinking of the images coming from the Smoky Mountains.
She grew up in that area where wildfires are spreading quickly, destroying homes and threatening lives and most of her family is still there.
Not only is her family there, her brother and her nephew are on the front lines fighting the disaster.
Emily Sturk was up overnight. She was reading the barrage of bad news coming from her loved-ones back home and catching up with the latest news on the web.
Sturk lives in South County, but is from Knoxville. Most of her large family and many friends are still in the area.
“I did have a good friend who had a home burn to the ground,” she said.
As far as she knows, her loved ones are safe, but she continues to worry about her brother Bill and nephew, Luke.
Bill is a park ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He's been busy evacuating areas threatened by the fast moving wildfire.
“His day ended up being 36 hours yesterday,” said Sturk.
Luke is a firefighter.
Sturk said, “It's pretty terrifying. It's very terrifying. My niece has a 3-year-old son and she's pregnant with her second.”
For now, Sturk can only lend her support through messages. She will go home for Christmas, but with a sense of dread.
“I mean, I really want to be there for my family but I'm going to be heartbroken to see my mountains that way,” Sturk said as she started to tear up. “It's going to break my heart.”