The Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have extended their burn ban to cover all campfires and grills throughout the park.
A few weeks ago, the park issued a burn ban in the backcountry, but with the continued dry conditions and the number of wildfires burning in East Tennessee and North Carolina, they've expanded the restrictions.
The ban now applies to all campfires and grills in the park's established campsites and picnic areas. No use of wood or charcoal fires is permitted. Park visitors are also reminded to extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, and pipes and dispose of them in appropriate containers.
Campers may continue to use gas camp stoves at designated campsites throughout the park.
“We are taking these extra precautions to help reduce the threat of wildfires and provide for visitor safety throughout the park,” said Chief Ranger Steve Kloster. “We ask that everyone respect this ban and report any signs of fire throughout the park.”
For those using the backcountry, park officials warn that limited water is available in springs at backcountry campsites and shelters throughout the park. At some locations where there is a running spring, it can take more than five minutes to fill a quart-sized bottle.
The following backcountry campsites are currently known to be without water: 5, 6, 14, 16, 19, 26, 113, Mollies Ridge Shelter, Russell Field Shelter, Spence Field Shelter, Silers Bald Shelter, Double Spring Gap Shelter, and Pecks Corner Shelter.
Other campsites may be without water as the drought conditions continue.
Backpackers should be aware of the lack of water when planning their hike, and to carry extra water with them.
(© 2016 WBIR)