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Firefighters respond to wildfire near Rich Mountain Road in National Park
November 20, 10:18 p.m.

Small fires extinguished in Tennessee and North Carolina

ober mountain snowtubing
Rich Mountain fire; courtesy photo GSMNP

GATLINBURG, TN — Wildland firefighters are responding to a wildfire near Rich Mountain Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A helicopter will drop water on the fire this evening before anticipated high winds move into the area and ground air operations. Other responding resources include NPS personnel, Townsend Fire Department and TN Department of Forestry.

Currently, the fire is estimated to be about 5-7 acres. Firefighters are working to secure line around the fire. Firefighters will stay on scene overnight.

No structures or properties are threatened. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Very strong winds are expected in the park this evening, especially on the Tennessee side, with gusts of 60-80 mph. A Red Flag Warning remains in place. The National Park Service is prioritizing employee, firefighter and public safety and decided to close several campgrounds and roads throughout the park today out of an abundance of caution. A burn ban remains in place throughout the park.

On Sunday night, firefighters from Blount County put out a small brush fire at Look Rock. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

In North Carolina, at about 11 a.m. on Monday, November 20, a construction crew working on Lakeview Drive witnessed a woman set two fires to grass and brush on the road shoulder. The fires were both quickly extinguished before they could grow. The woman was arrested, and Federal and state charges are pending.

The National Park Service extends its thanks to Swain County, North Carolina Forest Service, and Blount County for their quick response.

Intentionally setting fires, except in designated rings in camping or picnic areas, in national parks is always illegal. Intentionally starting fires under high wind and red flag warnings is illegal, dangerous and irresponsible. Under red flag conditions, fire danger is elevated and strong winds will cause fires to spread rapidly.

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