© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Great Smokies wildfires near Bryson City still being contained

Courtesy of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Thomas Divide fire early Monday morning.

Wildfires in Swain county that spread into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are now 40% contained. The two fires ignited over the weekend, east of Bryson City after high winds knocked down power lines. A news release from the Park Service says approximately 950 acres have been burned , with about 40-percent inside the park boundary. Park firefighters and local crews are working on the ground and in the air, using helicopters to dump giant buckets of water on hotspots.

“For containing fire right now the biggest challenge is low humidity and wind, because those are things we cannot control,” says Park Service acting public information officer Rhonda Wise.

Several trails and back country campsites remain closed.

Here’s the full list:

Backcountry campsites 46, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60; Deep Creek and Thomas Divide trails from Deep Creek to Newfound Gap Road; Pole Road Creek, Indian Creek, Stone Pile Gap, Deep Creek Horse Bypass, Juney Whank Falls, Deeplow, Fork Ridge, Sunkota Ridge, Martins Gap, Indian Creek Motor Nature, Mingus Creek, Newton Bald, Kanati Fork, and Loop trails. Toms Branch Road near Deep Creek is also closed. The Deep Creek Campground and Picnic Area are not scheduled to open for the season until April 15.

 The Unified Command Center continues to coordinate the suppression efforts with personnel from the National Park Service, North Carolina Forest Service, Bryson City Fire Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Swain County Fire Department, and Jackson County Emergency Management. Firefighters will continue suppression efforts tomorrow from both ground and air, if wind speeds allow.

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.