Forest Fires Threaten the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia

Published Apr 21, 2016

Dry weather, winds, abundant fuel and fast burning leaves are hampering efforts to put out forest fires on or near portions of the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.

Forest fires are within five miles of Hot Springs, NC.

The Buck Knob Fire near Franklin, NC, closed a portion of the Appalachian Trail from Wallace Gap to Winding Stair Gap on April 20. Old NC 64 is closed from Wallace Gap to Poplar Cove Road.

The US Forest Service's Cherokee National Forest released this statement on April 19, 2016:

Due to a wild fire a portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) has been temporarily rerouted for 7.2 miles along Forest Road 293 at Bitter End, off Buck Mountain Road north to the first field.

Fires burned hundreds of acres of land near Roan Mountain. Thankfully we have not heard of any reports of injuries.

A larger fire in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia threatens forests and, potentially, hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They say "Currently over 200 personnel, 2 helicopters, 1 fixed wing aircraft and 8 engines are working to contain the fire."

The Rocky Mountain Forest Fire in the vicinity of Luray closed these areas, as of April 19th:

  • Skyline Drive from Swift Run Entrance (mile 65) to Loft Mountain (mile 79)
  • Loft Mountain Wayside (mile 79.5)
  • Appalachian Trail from Powell Gap (mile 70) to Doyles River Overlook (mile 82)
  • Brown Mountain Trail
  • Big Run Portal Trail
  • Rocky Mountain Run Trail
  • Rockytop Trail
  • Big Run Loop
  • Austin Mountain Trail
  • Lewis Peak Trail
  • Patterson Ridge Trail
  • Madison Run Spur
  • Madison Run Fire Road
  • Rocky Mount Trail
  • Gap Run Trail
  • Onemile Run Trail

Shenandoah NP and select volunteers are providing free shuttles to keep AT hikers from harm's way. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) posts fire updates here.

Shenandoah National Park Updates on Forest Fires


Tags: Appalachian Trail, News, Accidents, Closings, US Forest Service, Closures, Rescues, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Safety, Hiking Safety, Information, forest fires appalachian trail, and shenandoah national park forest fire appalachian trail

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
Related Articles

Anyone can thru-hike our nation's most popular footpath, if they can climb the 10 Highest Peaks on the Appalachian Trail.

Published Apr 28, 2016. The status of forest fires threatening the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia can be checked at the government website InciWeb.

Published Aug 13, 2015. Fires in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest at Bald Knob & Wolf Creek continue to burn. Smoke can be seen by hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

Published Nov 25, 2016. Please, observe the fire ban that extends along the path of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Virginia and in national forests nearby.

Published Dec 4, 2014. The sale of Appalachian Trail vanity tags -- or "Specialty License Plates" -- provides money to help fund grants to local AT trail clubs.

Published Nov 10, 2016. On Thursday, November 10, 2016, forest service officials with the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests implemented a total fire ban.