The trail is closed from Davenport Gap and the mutual boundary edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Max Patch due to the “Black Bear Fire.”
According to the U.S. Forest Service in North Carolina, the blaze began around 9 a.m. in Haywood County, North Carolina due to a vehicle crash on I-40 near mile marker 3. It is approximately 1740 acres in size and is 42% contained, according to an update published at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20.
The U.S. Forest Service and N.C. Forest Service are responding to the fire. Efforts include the use of air tankers, helicopters, a 20-person hand crew, and dozers. Aircraft are conducting retardant and water drops to slow the fire progression.
Dry conditions in the region have contributed to the outbreak of fires across East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
Campfires in Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been banned until further notice. The N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning until further notice in several counties in western North Carolina.
Drivers on I-40 in the area should expect to see smoke Thursday and into Friday.