Due to a wildfire that started on Monday, Daniel Boone National Forest officials have temporarily closed a portion of Tunnel Ridge Road #39 and some national forest lands in the Red River Gorge.
The closure order prohibits anyone from entering or being on Tunnel Ridge Road past the Grays Arch trailhead parking area and all national forest lands south of Tunnel Ridge Road, west of the Sheltowee Trace Trail #100, north of the Mountain Parkway, and east of private lands in this vicinity. The road is closed to vehicle and foot traffic.
On Tuesday morning, the wildfire referred to as the Woodland fire had burned more than 90 acres of national forest land. The fire is expected to burn over 300 acres before it is contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The DBNF currently has a fire restriction order that prohibits any campfire or open flame outside of designated recreation areas. In the Red River Gorge, fire is only allowed at the Koomer Ridge Campground and three Forest Service picnic areas.
In designated recreation areas where an open fire is permitted in the national forest, the fire must be contained in an existing fire ring or pedestal grill installed by the Forest Service.
In fire restricted areas, a $300 fine will be issued to each person attending an illegal campfire. Any person or group responsible for causing a wildfire may also be held liable for fire suppression costs, which can become extensive once firefighters and heavy equipment are needed.
Anyone violating the fire restriction order and causing an uncontrolled wildfire could be charged with a felony of wanton endangerment if firefighter and public safety are put at risk.
Fires on national forest land may be reported by calling 911 or the nearest Forest Service office. If you suspect anyone of arson, call 1-800-27-ARSON.
TetonHikingTrails.com The Smoky Mountain Hiker is the author of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog and the online trail guide, HikingintheSmokys.com