Weather permitting, burn operations were expected to begin the first week of November and possibly continue intermittently through mid-November. Managers plan to burn about 400 acres across several open fields to prevent them from being reclaimed by forest.
“By conducting controlled burns, we are able to maintain the openness of the cove to preserve and maintain its historic character while also reducing non-native species,” said Fire Management Specialist Dave Loveland.
The Park contracts to mow about 1,000 acres of fields that are clearly visible from the Cades Cove Loop Road annually. Other fields that are less visible from the loop road, totaling around 1,500 acres, are kept open by burning or mowing on a three year rotation. The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use, but brief delays and temporary closures of side roads and trails may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations. Park staff will be present to answer questions during operations at overlooks and parking areas.