MAP: These Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trails and Campsites Remain Closed Due to Thomas Divide Complex Fire

by Jon D. B.
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Great Smoky Mountains News Release - Map of park closures due to Thomas Divide Complex Fire. (Photo credit: GRSM, NPS press release)

As this map courtesy of NPS shows, numerous North Carolina locations remain closed as Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) battles the growing Thomas Divide Complex Fire.

According to GRSM and NPS’s Sunday update, Great Smoky Mountains National Park firefighters and multiple agencies continue to work together to extinguish the Thomas Divide Complex Fire. The complex – which is comprised of two separate wildfires – burns east of Bryson City, North Carolina.

The Stone Pile Fire – an approximately 140 acre wildfire – burns on as part of the complex. Additionally, The Cooper Creek Fire – approximately 170 acres – burns alongside. As a result, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the National Park Service have released the following map to help visitors navigate closures:

map-these-great-smoky-mountains-national-park-trails-campsites-remain-closed-due-to-thomas-divide-complex-fire
Great Smoky Mountains News Release – Map of park closures due to Thomas Divide Complex Fire. (Photo credit: GRSM, NPS press release)

The following GRSM Campsites remain closed:

  • Backcountry campsites 46, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60
  • The Deep Creek Campground and Picnic Area are not scheduled to open for the season until April 15

The following GRSM Trails also remain closed:

  • Deep Creek and Thomas Divide trails from Deep Creek to Newfound Gap Road
  • Pole Road Creek
  • Indian Creek
  • Stone Pile Gap
  • Deep Creek Horse Bypass
  • Juney Whank Falls
  • Deeplow
  • Fork Ridge
  • Sunkota Ridge
  • Martins Gap
  • Indian Creek Motor Nature
  • Mingus Creek
  • Newton Bald
  • Kanati Fork
  • Loop trails.

In addition, Toms Branch Road near Deep Creek is remains closed.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Updates on Thomas Divide Complex Fire

As of Sunday, March 27, GRSM officials report the Thomas Divide Complex Fire “is estimated to be 10 percent contained with about half of the fire burning within the park boundary.”

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Great Smoky Mountains News Release – Park trails remain closed due to Thomas Divide Complex Fire. (Photo credit: GRSM, NPS press release)

As a result, “Several park trails and backcountry campsites remain closed between Deep Creek and Newfound Gap Road,” their Sunday press release continues.

To battle the duel blazes, a Unified Command Center has been established to coordinate suppression efforts. This includes personnel from the National Park Service and North Carolina Forest Service. In addition, Bryson City Fire Department and Bureau of Indian Affairs aid the fight.

In total, approximately 50 firefighters are working to establish firebreak lines using hand crews and bulldozers within Great Smoky Mountains National Park borders. Outside the park, firefighters continue to provide structure protection. If wind speeds allow, air resources are also available to respond.

The Thomas Divide Complex Fire would break out Saturday, March 26, 2022. Park officials first spotted flames of a fire near Cooper Creek, NC around 1 p.m. Saturday. Once park rangers were able to respond, a second fire was spotted near Stone Pile Gap close to the Thomas Divide.

“At this time, two wind-driven wildfires that originated south of the park boundary are now active inside the park,” NPS would state late Saturday evening.

All trail, campsite, and road closures above will remain in affect until further notice from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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