Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have issued a ban on all campfires and use of fire grills throughout the park effective immediately. Due to continued dry conditions and widespread wildfires throughout the region, park officials have issued the parkwide ban to further reduce the risk of escaped fires. The fire restriction will be in effect until further notice.
The fire ban applies to the use of all campfires and grills throughout the park including frontcountry and backcountry campsites and picnic areas. No use of wood or charcoal fires is permitted. In addition, park visitors are reminded to extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, and pipes and dispose of them in appropriate containers. At this time, campers may continue to use gas camp stoves at designated campsites throughout the park.
“We are taking these extra precautions to help reduce the threat of wildfires and provide for visitor safety throughout the park,” said Chief Ranger Steve Kloster. “We ask that everyone respect this ban and report any signs of fire throughout the park.”
Backpackers should be aware that these dry conditions affect the availability of water at springs at backcountry campsites and shelters throughout the park. At some locations where there is a running spring, it can take more than five minutes to fill a quart-sized bottle. The following backcountry campsites are currently known to be without water: 5, 6, 14, 16, 19, 26, 113, Mollies Ridge Shelter, Russell Field Shelter, Spence Field Shelter, Silers Bald Shelter, Double Spring Gap Shelter, and Pecks Corner Shelter. Other campsites may be without water as the drought conditions continue. Backpackers are encouraged to carefully consider their itinerary and carry extra water for those sites that are not located along major water sources.
For more information about backcountry trip planning, please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or call the backcountry office at 865-436-1297.
TetonHikingTrails.com The Smoky Mountain Hiker is the author of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog and the online trail guide, HikingintheSmokys.com