GSMNP closes trails due to wildfire near Chimney Tops

SEVIER COUNTY - A 3-acre wildfire has caused Great Smoky Mountains National Park to temporarily close Chimney Tops Trail and Road Prong Trail. 

The fire is burning just beyond the summit of the trail over extremely steep terrain, park officials said. Park staff responded to the fire around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

"We are experiencing extremely dry conditions throughout the park and we are asking for the public's help to prevent uncontrolled wildfires," said Chief Ranger Steve Kloster in a press release Friday. 

Kloster said the fire appears to be human caused. 

The park initially closed four trails due to the fire: Chimney Tops Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail, Huskey Gap Trail and Road Prong Trail.

Sugarland Mountain Trail and Huskey Gap Trail have since reopened.

A park spokesperson said fire crews would begin fire suppression efforts Thursday morning. 

A ban of all campfires and grills throughout the park remains in effect, including frontcountry and backcountry campsites and picnic areas. No use of wood or charcoal fires is permitted, but campers may continue to use gas camp stoves at designated campsites. 

PREVIOUS, Nov. 17: Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are reopening several trails the had to be closed because of the threat of nearby wildfire.

These trails are now back open: Chimney Tops Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, and Road Prong Trail.

A quarter-acre fire near the summit of the Chimney Tops Trail prompted the trail closures.

Officials reopened the trails about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

PREVIOUS STORY: Several hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park are expected to remain closed through Tuesday as crews monitor a wildfire burning near the summit of the Chimney Tops Trail. 

The park said the 0.25 acre wildfire remains within the containment area established by its crew on Sunday. 

The closed trails include: Chimney Tops Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, and Road Prong Trail. 

The fire is creating a lot of smoke, but the park said the fire is primarily burning with flames less than 12 inches. 

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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