The extremely dry conditions have prompted the U.S. Forest Service to implement strict fire restrictions in the Cherokee National Forest.
The Cherokee National Forest covers 655,000 acres along much of Tennessee's eastern border, split by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Starting this weekend:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal fire outside of developed recreation areas is prohibited. The use of portable lanterns, stoves or heating equipment that utilize gas or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed.
- Fires at developed recreation areas must be confined to receptacles designed for fire. Metal fire rings and grills are provided in Cherokee National Forest developed recreation areas. Campfires should always be put out and cold to the touch before left for any period of time.
“This action is necessary to protect National Forest resources and visitors. This restriction only pertains to the Cherokee National Forest," said Cherokee National Forest Fire Management Officer Marty Bentley. "We intend to terminate this restriction as soon as we receive significant moisture and conditions warrant it.”
National Forest visitors are asked to be very careful with fire and to obey all state and federal fire related laws and regulations.