At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Seasonal burns begin at Cades Cove

Firefighters conduct a prescribed burn in Cades Cove. NPS photo Firefighters conduct a prescribed burn in Cades Cove. NPS photo

Approximately 689 acres of fields in the Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be burned between Nov. 7 and Wednesday, Nov. 25. 

Park managers have conducted these burns over the past 20 years during the spring and fall as a way to safely reduce fuels, restore meadow habitats and maintain the historic landscape of Cades Cove. Staff closely monitor weather conditions to ensure the burns occur when the flames can be well controlled. Seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife species. 

Visitors should expect to see fire activity and smoke during prescribed burn operations. While in work zones they should reduce speed and refrain from stopping in roadways. When smoke is present, motorists should roll up their windows and turn on the headlights. 

Firefighters and equipment will be located along Sparks Lane, Hyatt Lane, and the western end of the Cades Cove Loop Road. The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use, but brief delays and temporary closures may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations. Specifically, burns are planned for the 58-acre field near the Methodist church, the 33-acre Upper Tater Branch field, the 226-acre Hyatt Lane Increase Fields, the 323-acre Hyatt Lane/Primitive Baptist Church field and the 49-acre Rowans Branch field.  

Learn more about prescribed burning in the Smokies at

Go to top