After another no-go the next week, also due to plunging humidity levels, the crew tried for a third time. This third day turned out to be a beautiful, partly cloudy day, and humidity, wind, and temperatures cooperated. The crew laid the fire hoses around the church, readied the engines, and donned protective helmets to start the burn.
Finally, after months of planning and weeks of waiting, low-intensity flames licked at the piled leaf-litter and curled around the base of fire-resistant old trees. With this burn completed, the park was dozens of acres closer to restoring a natural fire regime in Little Cataloochee.
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...