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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. 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?

Great Horned Owls can be heard most often in January and February

More than 240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration. More...