Thursday, April 24, 2008

That smoke coming from Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains Park is meant to be!

It looks as though the weather will hold up for today's prescribed burn in the NW corner of Cades Cove in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Because of this controlled burn expecting to encompass 1,800 acres, the national park service is going to close several hiking trails for at least a few days to make sure that after the burn is complete snags (trees and branches hug up in other trees and branches) and hot spots (areas that might reignite again) will no longer endanger hikers.

Smoke from the fire in Cades Cove will affect the Cades Cove Valley as well as being visible from Townsend, US129, Walland and Happy Valley. I personally suggest that today is not the day to take a hike or tour in Cades Cove as I put off my hiking trip to the Cades Cove until this Sunday.

The prescribed burn has been ordered by the national park service to burn down some of the dead brush so that any wildfires which may occur will not be as unmanageable as well as allowing yellow pine trees to flourish which would naturally benefit from wild fires.

The fire will be set by and managed by between 25 to 30 firefighters using drip torches to ignite the dead brush and trees. The boundaries of where the fire is meant to be contained will be along the following hiking trails and creek beds:
Southern boundary: Cooper Road Trail
Western boundary: Beard Cane Trail
Northern and Eastern sides: Hesse Creek/Bark Camp

The following hiking areas and backcountry campsites will be closed until advised:

  • Cooper Road Trail from the junction with Wet Bottom Trail
  • Cooper Road Trail to the junction with Ace Gap Trail
  • Cooper Road Trail to the junction Cane Creek Trail
  • Hatcher Mountain Trail from the junction with Cooper Road Trail to the junction with Little Bottoms Trail
  • Beard Cane Trail from the junction
  • Ace Gap Trail from Beard Cane Trail junction to backcountry campsite 7
  • Backcountry Campsite 3
  • Backcountry Campsite 11

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