Great Smoky Mountains Starts Burn
TOWNSEND, Tenn. (AP) _ Officials of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park set a 1,000-acre fire Monday in hopes of helping the yellow pine tree population, the largest such fire since 1996.
The closely monitored fire was expected to burn through Wednesday.
The goal of controlled burns is to replicate the role that natural fire played in shaping the park’s ecosystem. This week’s burn is intended to help the recovery of yellow pine in an area where the tree was once the predominant species.
Over the past 70 years, pines were crowded out by oaks and other hardwoods that flourished in part because of the suppression of fire, park spokesman Bob Miller said.
The pines, which also have been hurt by recent infestation by southern pine beetles, are expected to benefit from the sunny openings created by the prescribed burn.
On the Net:
Great Smoky Mountains: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/gsmsite/home