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Predicted Wildfire Burns 7 Acres in Tennessee

Road along Great Smoky Mountain National Park was closed due to the threat of wildfire which really happened. (Source: USA Today)

Rangers have evacuated two campgrounds and closed major highways in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to strong winds and wildfires.

Main entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Source: USA Today)

No One Was Harmed in the Wildfire in Tennessee

According to the National Park Service, a wildfire near Rich Mountain Road on Monday had spread to 5-7 acres as firefighters fought it into Tuesday morning. Nearby homes were evacuated. While the park has not been evacuated, rangers advise visitors to depart for safety. In a Monday press release, park officials closed most national park roads including Elkmont and Cades Cove campgrounds. The decision occurred before the wildfire started because the National Weather Service predicted hurricane-force winds in Tennessee, which might cause fires. Park officials said they will update the closures at the North Carolina-Tennessee border national park Tuesday afternoon. “Employee and visitor safety is our only priority,” park superintendent Cassius Cash said. “We know these closures are inconvenient, but we are trying to reduce risk during this dangerous weather event.”

The park service predicted continuous winds of 40 mph and hurricane-force gusts of 80 mph overnight into Tuesday. Low humidity and strong winds have raised a red flag warning for wildfires in the Smokies. Park officials temporarily banned campfires and charcoal Thursday due to dry weather. The Townsend Area Volunteer Fire Department posted on Facebook that a wildfire in east Tennessee caused early Tuesday morning evacuations of Old Cades Cove Road residences in Townsend. Townshend firefighters helped extinguish the fire with National Park Service and Tennessee Department of Forestry crews. Parks service: A helicopter poured water on the fire Monday evening until heavy winds grounded it and suspended air operations. It didn’t threaten any buildings, but the wildfire was the largest in the park’s vast forests.

A construction worker on Lakeview Drive in North Carolina saw a woman light two fires to grass and brush on the road side on Monday morning. Fires were quenched immediately, and the woman was apprehended. The Blount County firefighters also extinguished a small brush fire Sunday night at Look Rock. Park authorities said Gatlinburg Bypass and Foothills Parkway West (from Look Rock to Highway 129) will stay open as long as feasible. For road and weather updates, contact 865-436-1200 or visit the park’s website.

READ ALSO: Wildfire in California Threatens Residents’ Homes


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