Park Plans Prescribed Burn along Wears Valley Boundary

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian-Piedmont-Coastal Zone fire management staff plan to conduct a 175-acre prescribed burn along the park boundary in Wears Valley to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area.  The burn will take place between Monday, March 8 through Thursday, March 11, depending on weather. Prescribed burn operations are expected to take two days.

A National Park Service (NPS) crew of wildland fire specialists will conduct the prescribed burn to reduce the amount of flammable brush along the park’s boundary with residential homes. This unit was burned successfully in 2009 and is part of a multi-year plan to reduce flammable materials along the park boundary with residential areas.

“A long-term goal of this project is to maintain fire and drought tolerant trees like oak and pine on upper slopes and ridges in the park,” said Fire Ecologist Rob Klein. “Open woodlands of oak and pine provide habitat for a diverse set of plants and animals, and the health of these sites benefits from frequent, low-intensity burning.”

The planned burn area is bounded by Wear Cove Gap Road, Indian Camp Branch, Little River, and the park boundary along Roundtop Trail. In preparation for the burn, NPS staff have been clearing brush and leaf litter along the park boundary and Indian Camp Branch, which will serve as fire control lines to keep the fire within its planned boundaries. Resources from the US Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and local fire departments in Blount and Sevier Counties will provide assistance throughout the burn operations.

Closures for firefighter and public safety include Wear Cove Gap Road from the Metcalf Bottoms bridge to the park boundary at Wear Cove Gap, a section of Roundtop Trail, and Little Brier Gap Trail parking area. Staff will be on site to provide limited traffic access to residents as needed. Visitors and residents should expect to see smoke in the area. 

If operations proceed as planned, the crew may shift operations to Cades Cove later in the week to complete prescribed burn operations along Sparks Lane for the 90-acre Rowans Branch unit. An update will be provided if the crew adds this unit to the schedule next week. For more information about this burn unit, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/park-plans-cades-cove-prescribed-burn-for-thursday-february-25.htm.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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