• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Spring Road Status

    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

Fire: June-July, 2009


Managing fire

Fire managers in the Great Smoky Mountains are drafting a new Fire Management Plan. These plans are very important to a park with such a varied landscape and rich natural and cultural resources. Fire management plans have to account for human activities such as hiking and driving; wildlife habitat requirements, such as nesting, roosting, grazing, and shelter; and vegetation, such as which plants are fire dependent or where invasive species are growing.

Wet weather

Over the past few years, the Smokies have been very dry compared to average rainfall, which made wildfires (fires that aren’t part of the prescribed burning program). Based on data from weather monitors at Elkmont and Mt. LeConte, precipitation at the Park was about 25% below normal (based on a running average) from January to April. That finally changed in May and June (as any camper attempting to light a fire from soaked kindling can attest). Through May, with frequent heavy showers, the Park went from 25% below normal to only slightly below (8%) at Elkmont, and 3% ahead of what we would expect based on past years’ precipitation at Mt. LeConte. Late July is also turning out to be soggy, which makes wildfires much less likely.

Return to Resource Roundup: June-July, 2009.

Did You Know?

Fontana Lake is formed by Fontana Dam.

At 480 feet, Fontana Dam, located on the southwestern boundary of the park, is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The dam impounds the Little Tennessee River forming Fontana Lake and produces hydroelectric power. More...