Cades Cove in the north western section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park will be ground zero for 3 planned controlled burns this week performed by national park service firefighters as a cost effective method to keep the historic fields in the valley from becoming a forest.
Prescribed burns in Cades Cove generally take place in March but due to the Cades Cove Loop Road repaving next year which will close the road, prescribed burns will take place if weather conditions permit today through Friday.
Today the park plans on burning several tracts of land in the Cades Cove Valley west of Hyatt Lane close to where prescribed burns took place this spring. Before setting the larger blaze containment areas have been set by mowing the grass around where the burn is to take place.
If all goes well tomorrow through Friday the next set of controlled wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains national park will take place in fields between Parks and Hyatt Lane.
While these burns should not effect traffic along the Cades Cove Loop Road it is possible to road will be closed for safety reasons. It is also possible either Hyatt Lane or Sparks Lane will be also closed in the next 3 days but more than likely the only effect the prescribed wild fire will have on visitors in Cades Cove is the sight and smell of smoke.
The Great Smoky Mountains national park has about 950 acres of fields in the Cove visible from Cades Cove Loop Road mowed a year and another 1,000 acres that are less visible are kept from being claimed by forest burned or mowed on a 3 year rotation.