Starting Friday, campfires will once again be allowed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A campfire ban has been in place for more than a month due to extreme drought conditions followed by the wildfires that destroyed or damaged more than 2,400 buildings in Sevier County. Fourteen people died in those fires.
Beginning Friday, Dec. 23, park visitors can have campfires and use grills at established front and backcountry campsites and picnic areas.
Park officials said they considered lifting the ban because of recent rain and containment of the Chimney Tops 2 Fire.
“With the fire containment and recent wet, moist conditions, we are relieved that our winter campers can once again have warming fires which can be critical when camping in single digits,” said Chief Ranger Steve Kloster. “We remind hikers and campers to dress in layers and to be prepared for changing weather at all elevations.”
The city of Sevierville also announced it will begin accepting requests for open burning permits on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
The park has received between 7 to 10 inches of rain since Nov. 28.
Trail crews are still working to clear and assess trails throughout the burned area.
The following trails remain closed: Chimney Tops Trail, Road Prong Trail, Sugarlands Mountain Trail, Bullhead Trail, Rough Creek Trail, Cove Mountain Trail, Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, and Sugarlands Riding Stables concession trails.