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This is an update to an earlier post about fires currently underway in East Tennessee to help those planning a visit in the near future.
Federal, state, and local teams worked together to reach 85% containment on the Hatcher Mountain Road/Indigo Lane fire while focus shifted towards a second fire on the Blount and Sevier Counties border late this week.
The Hatcher Mountain Road/Indigo Lane Fire, located in the Wears Valley area of Sevier County, was fueled by high winds on Wednesday March 30, drawing firefighters from as far away as middle Tennessee and included firefighters from the ranks of the National Park Service, and State Forestry to battle the blaze that was making its way an area which is hone to many vacation and residential dwellings at a press conference held Friday morning, state forestry officials expressed confidence in their ability to contain the fire with the likelihood of transitioning total control of the incident to local officials sometime over the weekend.
In addition to several side roads, a section of Wears Valley Road (US 321) which opened briefly on Thursday is closed again as firefighters engage in mop up activities and extinguish hotspots.
As the firefighting efforts begin to wind down in Wears Valley, officials and residents have begun shifting the priority to a new fire in the mountainous Dupont region, south of Seymour, TN. The new fire, known as the Millstone Gap Fire will be supported with a National Park Service Hot Shot crew, better suited for the hand lines needed to contain fires in difficult to reach terrain as well as receive increased aerial fire support.
Neither fire should pose a significant impact to tourists visiting Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Smoke and emergency personnel may remain visible in the area for the foreseeable future.
All campgrounds remain open on the east side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park at this time and it appears unlikely that this status will change. If your reservations are at any of the RV Parks near Pigeon Forge off of US 321, west of the Parkway, call ahead to determine potential impacts.