Fires burning in Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- Forest fires on both sides of the Smoky Mountains have closed part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and several hiking trails in Tennessee.

Catherine Hibbard, a spokeswoman for an interagency task force managing the fire, said Thursday the Stony Ridge fire has been contained on it's western edge, just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but crews were battling it along an eastern front.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed from U.S. 441 northward to Soco Gap. About 1,200 acres had burned.

In the park, three crews had cut a fire line on the eastern edge of a blaze that had burned nearly 270 acres near popular Laurel Falls, about 5 miles from Gatlinburg.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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