Winter Road Status
During winter, roads in the park may close due to snow and ice, especially at night when water from melting refreezes on roads. For road status information please call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow road updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »
Engine Crew & the Fire Cache
The Fire Cache is a place—a storage cache of tools and equipment—and the people who run it are the crew of Engine 15. Long before the snow melted and the trees sent out their first leaf buds for this fire season, the crew was busy at park headquarters putting together the tools and equipment that would support the Canadian Top controlled burn. The engine crew is based in the Smokies and their primary duty is this park, although they sometimes support Fire Management activities in other parks around the Southeast region as well.
The members of the engine crew lead firefighters to put out local fires that start, as well as coordinate logistics—supplies, vehicles, locations of crews and engines—on larger wildfires and controlled burns. The fire cache works hand in hand with local and state fire departments to keep the wildland environment—a term that describes undeveloped land—safer when uncontrolled fires break out. The engine crew not only provides and maintains all of the gear and equipment necessary for fire management activities, but they also service two remote-automated weather stations in the park that help fire managers know how they can expect fire to behave. Fire “behavior” includes how it burns across a landscape as the wind pushes it along, as humidity makes it flare up or die down, and as rain or sun affect it.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...