Great Smoky Mountains National Park plans a prescribed burn along the park boundary near the Top of the World and the Lake in the Sky communities in Blount County.

The prescribed burn operations are expected to last up to two days between Tuesday, March 12, and Sunday, March 31, weather permitting, park officials said in a press release.

The Appalachian-Piedmont-Coastal Fire Management Zone staff will conduct the 240-acre burn in the Lynn Hollow area.

The purpose of the prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations in the vicinity of residential communities and to restore a unique shortleaf-pine and oak forest community that is rare within the park.

“With the help of the Tennessee Division of Forestry, the Top of the World community recently was designated a Firewise USA Site last year,” Fire Management Officer Greg Salanasky said. “They have been working to protect their community from wildfires by implementing Firewise practices. This prescribed burn allows us the opportunity to help reduce fuels along the boundary of the park and their community.”

The prescribed burn area is bounded by Gold Mine Trail, Cooper Road Trail, Kingfisher Creek and Flats Road. The Gold Mine Trail will be closed to all public use during burn operations.

Visitors traveling along the Foothills Parkway West should expect to see smoke in the area. The actual ignition operations will last up to two days, while residual smoke and monitoring activities could last for multiple days after ignitions are completed.

For more information about the use of prescribed fire in the park, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/wild landfire.htm.

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