What's that smell? Large fire, high winds meant Cincinnatians smelled Gatlinburg blaze Monday night

Posted at 1:23 AM, Nov 29, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Did you smell something unusual Monday night? People across the Tri-State reported a strange scent - "like burning rubber, almost," according to one Facebook commenter -- drifting through the rain that evening, and some wrote to WCPO to ask what was happening.

"I checked throughout my entire house for something on fire," wrote Cheviot, Ohio, resident Renee Laguna on Facebook.

But the smell wasn't local. According to chief meteorologist Steve Raleigh, the smoky smell that permeated parts of Greater Cincinnati was likely smoke from the enormous wildfires burning near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Although Gatlinburg is around 300 miles from Cincinnati, the speed of Monday night's winds and the 500-acre scope of the wildfires meant that it was possible for the smell to travel that distance in a single evening.

Residents of the Cincinnati area don't have anything to fear from the fire except an odd scent, but people who live near the fire in Tennessee have been under a mandatory evacuation order since 6 p.m. Monday. Reports from the scene also indicate that the fire had reached several buildings in downtown Gatlinburg, including parts of the Dollywood theme park.