Don’t jump to conclusions if you see parts of the Smoky Mountains actually smoking this spring. What you’re seeing likely isn’t a forest fire, but a prescribed burn being carried out by the National Park Service to fortify the Smokies from such wildfires and help replenish the majestic landscapes that everyone has come to know and love.
Needless to say, these burns are being carried out by design this spring in the Smokies. Burns like these planned ones are commonplace most years, especially in areas like Cades Cove. It’s just one of the ways that the Cove maintains its lush meadows, which in turn makes it a haven for Smoky Mountain wildlife. If someone is carrying a camera with them in the Townsend, TN area, they’re likely headed to Cades Cove or they’ve already been there.
In fact, there are plans for several intentional burns through the month of May.
In addition to replenishing areas of the park, official said the controlled burns also drastically reduce fuel that can build up and produce wildfires near homes located close tot he national park and help restore diverse tree populations in the forest.
The burns will not only occur in Cades Cove, Wears Valley and Lynn Hollow are scheduled for prescribed burns as weather permits this spring.
Despite these prescribed burns, the Cades Cove Loop Road will remain open, though visitors may experience brief delays because of drifting smoke or safety concerns as firefighter work along the road.
Fire management officer Dave Loveland said 600 acres of fields burned earlier in the cove look great as spring arrives.