“There were no fish kills observed immediately after the fires. We do not anticipate any short or long-term population impacts on the trout streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

says Matt Kulp, Supervisory Fishery Biologist for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I had just picked up the kids from school on Monday afternoon, November 28th when my husband Ian called and asked “Have you heard any news this afternoon? The winds are carrying the embers from the Chimneys fire and spreading across the park.” The fire had started five days earlier near the summit of the Chimneys, an iconic pair of rocky peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Like most previous wildfires in the Smokies, it smoldered for days. The relatively remote location, well away from any roads or buildings, made it seem relatively harmless compared to numerous other wildfires also burning in East Tennessee and western North Carolina at the time.

Original 1489768174 lecontecreekfootbridgeimg 2019

Photo by Charity Rutter

Original 1489768170 scorchrhododendronimg 2151

Photo by Charity Rutter