A controlled burn is the act of purposely setting fire to a portion of a forest in order to improve its health. It seems counter-intuitive to burn something down to make it healthier, but it is a proven method for ridding forests of debris, reduce insect populations and invasive plants, and rejuvenating the soil. A controlled burn prevents forest fires!
The editorial staff of the Historic Gatlinburg Inn took a hike through a region of the Great Smoky Mountains that had recently been subject to a controlled burn. It is a strange, eerie thing to behold. On one hand, you see black, pointed spears stabbing the sky – remnants of what used to be. At the same time, you see young, green trees and shrubbery arising from the burned soil.
Small fires will typically happen on their own, and it is a natural process. The suppression of these fires (as is common in certain parts of the country) is harmful because it results in the accumulation of flammable materials, an increase in insect infestations, and an increase in invasive plant species. A controlled burn gives mankind the power to conquer these problems in a way that does not threaten property or life.
One fascinating fact about forests is that they contain certain plants that require fire in order for pine cones or fruits to release seeds contained within them in order to spread. The fire melts a resin that contains the seeds, allowing them to reproduce.
These photos were taken near the top of the Bullhead Trail, which starts via the Roaring Forks Motor Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains – a taxing uphill adventure. If you are in good health, we highly recommend exploring this or other trials in the Smokies because you will see spectacular views you just can’t see any other way. These are views you gotta work for!
If you hike into the Great Smoky Mountains, you will see something amazing no matter what trail you take or which way you go. If you do know of an area that has recently had a controlled burn, that is definitely worth exploring! Book your room at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn today and get your mountain adventure started!