Wildfire in Smokies 50 percent contained

(source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
(source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

UPDATE Monday 10 p.m.

Officials say the fire is 50 percent contained and is burning through a 250-acre containment zone. Rain over the weekend helped slow the fire’s spread, but stumps and logs are still actively burning. Crews continue monitoring. All areas of the park remain open.

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TALLASSEE (WATE) -Crews in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are fighting a 60 to 70-acre wildfire near the Abrams Creek Campground Saturday night.

The Happy Valley Ridge Fire was reported around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. Park officials say it is slowly spreading with flame lengths less than three feet high, but the fire reached flame heights of five to six feet during the hottest and driest parts of the afternoon.

Jamie Sanders with Great Smoky Mountain National Park says the dry condition caused a lot of extra smoke in the area.

“Due to extremely dry conditions, the fire is burning hot and consuming much of the dead fuel lying on the forest floor causing much smoke in the area,” she said.

Personnel include nine firefighters with the National Park Service and 11 hotshot crew members from the Cherokee National Forest.

The fire is not threatening any structures, roads or trails, according to park rangers. All park areas remain open. Visitors should expect to see smoke from the Foothills Parkway West and Abrams Creek area. The cause of the fire is unknown, but park rangers suspect lightning.

 

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