Fire management officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have announced plans to conduct a 200-acre prescribed burn just inside the park south of Wears Valley in Sevier County, TN. The burn will take place sometime during November 11th - 24th, depending on weather. Prescribed burn operations are expected to take 2 days.
Great Smoky Wildland Fire Module, a National Park Service crew of wildland fire specialists, will be conducting the prescribed burn to reduce the build-up of flammable brush inside the Park boundary in order to reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire. "Protecting our neighbors is a high priority", stated Shane Paxton, Wildland Fire Module Leader. "Along with the positive ecological effects of controlled burning, we are reducing dangerous fuel loading near several homes which will help tremendously if there is ever a wildfire in the area."
The planned burn area is bounded by Wear Cove Gap Road, Indian Camp Branch, Little River Road, and the Park boundary. In preparation for the burn, Wildland Fire Module personnel have been clearing brush and leaf litter along the Park boundary and Indian Camp Branch, which will serve as fire control lines to keep the fire within its planned boundaries. Park fire fighters and cooperator fire engines from Wears Valley Fire Department and Townsend Fire Departments will be prepositioned to patrol the lines and suppress any fire that threatens the containment lines.
This unit was also burned successfully in 2009. The burn is part of a multi-year plan to reduce fuel loadings in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in Sevier County. Prescribed fire is a proven effective tool in returning forests to their pre-suppression splendor.
Closures for firefighter and public safety include Wear Cove Gap Road from the Metcalf Bottoms bridge to the Park boundary at Wear Cove Gap along with Roundtop Trail. Residents should expect smoke in the area.