Archived Outdoors

Prescribed burns planned

Firefighters conduct a prescribed burn on the area in 2009. NPS photo Firefighters conduct a prescribed burn on the area in 2009. NPS photo

A 175-acre prescribed burn is planned for this week along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Wears Valley to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, on the Tennessee side of the park. 

The burn will take place between March 8 and March 11, depending on weather. Burn operations are expected to take two days. The project aims to reduce the amount of flammable brush near the residential homes that sit near the park boundary. 

For firefighter and public safety, Wear Cove Gap Road will be closed from the Metcalf Bottoms Bridge to the park boundary at Wear Cove Gap. Additionally, a section of Roundtop Trail and the Little Brier Gap Trail parking area will be closed. Smoke will be visible in the area. 


Prescribed burns planned for Jackson, Macon counties

Over the coming months, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct 10 prescribed burns in the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest in Macon and Jackson counties. 

These low-to-medium-intensity burns aim to create healthier, more resilient forests that are better able to support wildlife while also reducing the risk of wildfire. 

Planned burns in Macon County:

• Buzzard Knob unit on Rainbow Springs Road, 695 acres

• Water Shed 31 unit at Coweeta Hydrologic Station, 276 acres

• Bull Pen unit at Bull Pen Road and Chattooga River, 722 acres 

• Fire Gap unit at Wayah Road and Rainbow Springs Road, 1,751 acres

• DeWeese Ridge unit in Upper Burningtown, 894 acres 

• Panther Knob unit at Siler Bald, 3,000 acres

Planned burns in Jackson County:

• Awl Knob unit in Little Canada, 243 acres

• Sugar Creek Ridge unit in Little Canada, 255 acres

• Rich Mountain unit in Little Canada, 1,201 acres 

• Locust Gap unit in the Wayehutta OHV Area, 255 acres

The dates and actual units burned will depend on weather conditions. Crews will wait for proper wind and humidity conditions to conduct the burns, and burns will occur only when environmental conditions permit. Some roads or trails may be closed to ensure safety while the burns take place. 

For updates, follow the National Forests in North Carolina on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.