Published On: Wed, Mar 8th, 2017

Park plans prescribed burn in Cades Cove


Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Piedmont Zone fire management staff  plan to burn approximately 110 acres of fields east of Hyatt Lane within Cades Cove. Weather permitting, burn operations will occur Thursday, March 9.

Over the last 20 years, park managers have conducted these burns during the spring and fall under specific prescription parameters to safely restore meadow habitats. Park staff closely monitors fire weather conditions including woody fuel and soil moisture, wind, and relative humidity to ensure that conditions meet the burn plan objectives for the site. These seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds.

Visitors should expect to see firefighters and equipment along Hyatt Lane and the exit side of the Cades Cove Loop Road. The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use, but brief delays and temporary closures may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations.  Park staff will be present to answer questions during operations at overlooks and parking areas.

Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during controlled burn operations. Fire managers ask that motorists reduce speed in work zones, but refrain from stopping in the roadways. If smoke is present, motorists should roll up windows and turn on headlights.