Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Piedmont Zone fire staff plan to conduct a series of controlled burns in Cades Cove on Monday, March 7 through Friday, March 11. Weather depending, these prescribed fire treatments will take place in four field units totaling 502 acres between Sparks Lane and the Cable Mill Visitor Center area.
“These controlled burns are critical for providing suitable habitat for plants and animals and reducing encroachment of undesired plants,” said Greg Salansky, National Park Zone Fire Management Officer. The goal of the controlled burn treatments in Cades Cove is to use fire to maintain open meadows, improve critical habitat for wildlife, reduce shrub and tree intrusion and exotic plant species, and to preserve the historic landscape of Cades Cove.
The Cades Cove loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use during controlled burn operations; however brief delays and temporary closures of adjacent roads and trails may occur to ensure public safety during fire operations. Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during fire operations. Fire managers ask that motorists reduce speed in work zones.
If smoke is present, keep windows up and headlights on. Please do not stop on roadways. Staff members will be present at overlooks to answer questions during the controlled burns.
While this is significant, you should keep your plans if you intend on photographing in Cades Cove on these dates. Many times the smoke from these fires can actually enhance your images. And these controlled burns are weather dependent so there’s a chance that they could be cancelled all together.
For more information on fire activity, temporary closures, and safe viewing areas, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm or follow fire updates on social media on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS/ or Twitter at https://twitter.com/GreatSmokyNPS.