Could Wildfires Affect Holiday Plans

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County (WVLT) - A fire is just one thing that could effect your Memorial day weekend if you're planning on spending it in "the park".

You might be in for a big surprise if you don't have an active game plan.

"Memorial Day Weekend we'll be slammed. This whole area will be covered with folks... all of our campgrounds will probably fill up," Bob Miller says.

So will the roads...

"You can expect traffic to be pretty heavy, you can expect bear jams," Miller continues.

Campfires and tires and bears...

"The bears have been out of hibernation for six weeks or so and there's not a lot of berries out there an so they're gonna be pretty hungry," Miller says.

That means secure your coolers, clean up picnic sites and get your garbage into the bear-proof dumpsters...but some campers say the wildlife makes the trip worth it.

"It's home away from hone, yeah... and we love the wildlife, we've already seen bears and turkeys and we really love it," Rosetta & Art Campbell say.

But there's a slight problem in the park this holiday... a 200-plus acre wildfire.

Most visitors will enter the park here at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, that's near Gatlinburg... but the wildfire is burning more than 30 miles away at the far west end of the park at Abram's Creek.

"It's a good mile and a half or a mile into the park boundary and doesn't really pose any threats to structures in the park or outside," Miller says.

But the smoke from the fire isn't helping clear the haze...

"There's actually a particulate alert out for air quality throughout the Southeast, so this probably adds to that condition, but only very locally," Miller continues.

And the locals have been keeping a close eye on it.

"Sometimes from the morning to the afternoon, it will double in size. And today, the fire has actually gone to a different ridge," Doug Witmer says.

But those here to visit won't let the fire fan out their fun.

"I don't see no smoke, there's no smoke, there's no fire!," Carol & Mike Sculla says.


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