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Park Modifies Campground, Picnic Area, and Restroom Operations to Implement Latest Health Guidance

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    Park Lifts Backcountry Campfire Ban

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials removed the ban on backcountry campfires
    effective Tuesday, October 22. Backcountry campfires have been banned since September
    26. Recent rains and cooler temperatures over the last couple of weeks have consistently
    lowered drought severity ratings and fire danger throughout the park leading to this
    management decision.

    Park officials will continue to monitor conditions throughout the fall season and will
    implement future restrictions as needed. While drought severity ratings have lessened, much
    of the park is still within the moderate drought (D1) category according to the U.S. Drought
    Monitor. Visitors are reminded that all fires must be confined to designated campfire rings
    and grills. Users should take precautions to help reduce the risk of wildfires by extinguishing
    fires by mixing water with embers in fire rings and grills.

    Backpackers should be aware that drought conditions also affect the availability of water at
    springs at backcountry campsites and shelters throughout the park. At some locations where
    there is a running spring, it can take more than five minutes to fill a quart-sized bottle. Many
    of the springs in the higher elevations are running significantly slower than normal at this
    time and the following backcountry campsites are currently known to be without water: 5, 13,
    16, 26, Russel Field Shelter, and Mollies Ridge Shelter. Backpackers are encouraged to
    carefully consider their itinerary and carry extra water for those sites that are not located
    along major water sources.

    Last updated: November 8, 2021

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