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Smoke on the horizon: Controlled burns planned for thousands of acres in Polk County

From NewsChannel 9: It's often true that where there's smoke, there's fire. But the smoke you may see on the horizon coming from Polk County is no

From NewsChannel 9: It’s often true that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But the smoke you may see on the horizon coming from Polk County is nothing to get worried about.


The United States Forest Service announced on Monday that says crews will conduct controlled burns from now through the winter months in both Polk and Monroe Counties.


Pictured: Prescribed Fire in Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Appalachian Piedmont Coastal Fire Management Zone staff plan to burn approximately 1,200 acres of fields in Cades Cove between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22, 2022. (Photo credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

Controlled burns are implemented in accordance with a written plan that prescribes specific weather, smoke dispersion, and other environmental conditions before crews proceed. Conditions identified in the prescription occur more frequently here during winter months,’ a release says.

These burns help clear off brush that can help wildfires spread, as well as replenish the soil.


Here’s a look at what’s planned and where in Polk County:


  • Towee/Wildcat/Loss Creek (2,653 acres) – Between NFSR 2015, NFSR 2016, NFST 152/82, the Hiwassee River and NFSR 108.
  • Island Creek (447 acres) – Between Parksville Lake and NFSR 302.
  • Johnson Branch (943 acres) – Between Parksville Lake and NFSR 302, 302A and near Camp Cherokee.
  • Sina Branch (608 acres) – Between NFSR 67 and 99.
  • Sheeds Creek (3,042 acres) – Between NFSR 221 and 62.
  • Chestnut Mountain (1,605 acres) – Between NFSR 221, NFSR 221E, NFSR 62 and NFST 145.
  • Small wildlife fields


The release says crews aren’t able to provide exact days when these controlled burns will happen, saying weather conditions often prevent the burns from commencing until the day of.


They will happen between now and March 1st of next year.