Park managers have conducted these burns over the past 20 years during the spring and fall as a way to safely reduce fuels, restore meadow habitats and maintain the historic landscape of Cades Cove. Staff closely monitor weather conditions to ensure the burns occur when the flames can be well controlled. Seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife species.
Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during prescribed burn operations. While in work zones they should reduce speed and refrain from stopping in roadways. When smoke is present, motorists should roll up their windows and turn on the headlights.
Firefighters and equipment will be located along Sparks Lane, Hyatt Lane, and the western end 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. Specifically, burns are planned for the 58-acre field near the Methodist church, the 33-acre Upper Tater Branch field, the 226-acre Hyatt Lane Increase Fields, the 323-acre Hyatt Lane/Primitive Baptist Church field and the 49-acre Rowans Branch field.
Learn more about prescribed burning in the Smokies at www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/wildlandfire.htm.