Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cades Cove TN controlled burn set for April 19 in GSMNP

The help maintain interior fields in the Cades Cove Valley in the Tennessee sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the national park service is planning to execute a number of controlled burns if the weather cooperates.

The national parks plan is to burn 300-400 acres, a few grassy parcels at a time stretching out over the next few weeks in order to prevent the open fields from being taken over by forest growth. These interior areas of Cades Cove to be burned encompass approximately 1,000 acres and are on a 3 year rotation of either mowing or burning. This years rotation calls for burning which is more cost effective than mowing.

Visitors to Cades Cove should not be significantly affected and most will be able to drive, bike or hike the entire 11 mile Cades Cove Loop without being interfered with other than smelling smoke from the controlled burn however rangers may have to briefly close the small side road to the Primitive Baptist Church or the access road to Abrams Creek Trail.

In order to ignite the fires and make sure that the fire stays within the prescribed boundaries National Park firefighters and a Park engine will be in the Cove. Containment lines have already been made by mowing the areas sounding each field that is destined to be burned.

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